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Imran Khan, colleagues booked under sedition charges: report

Imran Khan, colleagues booked under sedition charges: report

Islamabad: Imran Khan, the former Pakistan Prime Minister and Tehreek-e-Insaf party chief, along with the party's other main leaders, has been booked for sedition by the Pakistan government, PTI reported citing a Pak daily, Business Recorder.

The daily reported that criticising a government or its subordinate organisations was sedition and betraying one's State is inconceivable in any democracy.

There was an 1860 law in Pakistan that criminalised dissent against the government, but it was abolished by a Lahore High Court order on March 30 while hearing a public interest petition. The colonial era law, Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), had stated, "whosoever by words, either spoken or by signs, or otherwise, attempts to bring into hatred or contempt the federal or provincial government" would be punishable with imprisonment for life or up to three years along with fine.

The court had explained why loyalty to the State has to be distinguished from loyalty to the government in its 48-page judgement.

Taking exception to three keywords, contempt, hatred and disaffection, used in section 124-A, the judge wrote: "As human beings, we are all susceptible to showing such emotions at some point or the other."

The judge observed that the impugned section of the PPC demands allegiance and loyalty by all opposition parties, their members, the citizens and members of the press towards the federal or provincial governments of the day.

This means any political opponent (of the government) or a citizen having loyalty to a different group will, by necessary implication, be disloyal to the federal or provincial government in power, which "is antithetical to the very concept of democracy and constitutionalism".

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TAGS:PakistanImran Khansedition
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