May 07, 2022
ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed its grave concern over FIA's decision to challenge the nullification of Clause 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) by the Islamabad High Court last month.
A joint statement issued by PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi called upon the federal government to direct the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to withdraw its petition immediately.
The two PFUJ leaders reminded the PML-N of its promise to uphold freedom of expression.
"The Islamabad High Court had nullified clause 20 of PECA because it was contrary to the freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution," the statement said. "The government must respect the IHC verdict and direct the FIA to withdraw its petition."
The PFUJ leaders also reminded the government of the promise held out by Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb to the Joint Action Committee to revisit the PECA Act in consultation with the stakeholders.
PFUJ said that FIA had violated and misused this law against media and journalists during the previous regime by sending them notices, raiding their residences, and abducting media persons. "How can an agency working under the federal government challenge this law without the consent of PML-N leadership," PFUJ questioned.
They demanded that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif intervene and direct FIA to withdraw its petition. They also called upon the information minister to convene a meeting of the Joint Action Committee to review PECA Act 2016.
The PFUJ said it was against fake news and yellow journalism, but that isn't an excuse for curbing the freedom of expression.
"Amendments can be made in the law to achieve this objective without compromising the freedom of expression."
The PFUJ leaders also expressed their resentment and anger over unwanted and derogatory remarks made in the petition.
They expressed their resolve to fight such a mentality that aims to suppress media and independent voices.
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