Opposition rejects defamation law

Punjab Assembly speaker gives 5 days to Opposition to present amendments

LAHORE    -   The Opposition in Punjab Assembly Wednesday raised objections to the Punjab government’s defamation bill terming it uncalled for and against the freedom of expression. Treasury member Salma Butt presented the report of the Defamation Law 2024 in the assembly after the Question Hour. In his reaction to the bill, Opposition member Rana Aftab said that there was no need for this law in the presence of the Defamation Ordinance 2002. Under this law, the defendant has to prove their innocence, he added.

Rana Aftab questioned the haste with which the bill has been brought in the House for passage. He told the chair that a defamation bill was being introduced in the Assembly without debate and seeking suggestions from the Opposition.

Opposition Leader Malik Ahmad Khan Bhachar asked the chair that the bill be sent back to the House committee for further deliberations. He pleaded that the government should take civil society and stakeholders into confidence over the proposed defamation law. Speaker Punjab Assembly Malik Ahmad Khan told the opposition members that they had the right to oppose the bill. “The opposition has five days to submit amendments to the Defamation Bill as there will be a vote on the law on Monday.”, he announced. The speaker said that it would have been better if the Minister for Information was present in the House to brief the Opposition about this law. The speaker stated that the issue of press freedom was extremely important. ”I assure you that we will not allow press freedom to be sacrificed under the guise of defamation”, the speaker declared.

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