The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday observed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has not been briefed properly on the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA) amendment ordinance.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah commented during the hearing of a petition against the electronic crime law that has triggered protests from media bodies and civil society who termed it a “draconian law”.
Former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Maqsood Buttar approached the IHC against the recently promulgated ordinance.
Petitioner’s counsel Hassan Irfan told the court that there are two different points in this petition from the petitions already filed before the IHC.
He argued that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) does not have the authority to look into the issue between two private parties, adding that the agency can only look into cases involving the federal government.
The CJ said that in the speech delivered by the prime minister yesterday, it seems that no one briefed him properly, the law of contempt exists apart from PECA.
“It seems that the prime minister was not assisted correctly in this regard.”
The petitioner’s lawyer said that the FIA does not have the power to get involved in private disputes. “Islam also gives freedom of expression.”
CJ Athar Minallah remarked that the law is used against critics here.
The high court adjourned the hearing till March 10, ordering to combine the petition with other petitions against the PECA amendment ordinance and issued notice to the attorney general.
The court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to ensure that no action was taken against the SOPs.