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Army Act amend, Official Secrets Act challenged

The plea stated that President Arif Alvi has not signed the Official
Secrets (Amendment) Bill 2023 and Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill  2023 and it also violates basic human rights



Bureau Report

KARACHI, Sindh Bar Council (SBC) has challenged the
Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Pakistan Army Act
(Amendment) Bill, 2023 in Supreme Court of Pakistan.

As per details, the plea was filed by SBC urging the Supreme Court to
declare the amendments null and void.

The plea stated that President Arif Alvi has not signed the Official
Secrets (Amendment) Bill 2023 and Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill  2023 and it also violates basic human rights.

Earlier, President Arif Alvi denied signing the Official Secrets
(Amendment) Bill 2023 and Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill 2023.

Arif Alvi took to X [formerly known as Twitter] and said God is his
witness that he did not sign Official Secrets Amendment Bill 2023 and
Pakistan Army Amendment Bill 2023 as he disagreed with these laws.

According to the contents of the bill, unauthorized disclosure of
information obtained in the interest of national security and interest
in the official capacity will be severely punished for up to five years,
the disclosure with the permission of the Army Chief or the empowered
officer will not be punished.

The bill also said that officials that fall under the law will not be
able to participate in political activities within two years of
retirement, resignation or dismissal.

According to the bill, a person involved in electronic crime, whose
purpose is to defame the Pakistan Army, will be prosecuted under
electronic crime.

According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill –  it is
imperative to amend the Official Secrets Act 1923 and make it more
effective in view of the changing social milieu to ensure safety and
security of official documents.

Section 3 of the bill stated that a person shall commit an offence if he
intentionally for any purpose “approaches, inspects, passes over or is
in the vicinity of, or enters, attacks, destroys or otherwise undermines
any prohibited place”

“The person shall commit an offence if he intentionally for any purpose
makes any sketch, plan, model, or note which is calculated to be or
might be or is intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an
enemy,” it added.

It further stated that a person shall commit an offence if he obtains,
collects, records or publishes or communicates to any other person any
secret official code or password, or any electronic or modem device,
sketch, or plan which is calculated to be or might be useful to an enemy
of the State.

Meanwhile, amendment of Section 9 stated that any person who incites to
commit, conspires to commit, attempts to commit, shall be liable to
punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years,
or with fine which may extend to one million, or both.

Under the bill, the investigating officer will be from Federal
Investigation Agency (FIA), and the said officer will be appointed by DG
FIA, and a joint investigation team can also be formed if necessary.

The amendment bill also granted intelligence agencies powers to conduct
warrantless searches ‘anywhere and anytime’






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