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[Media Lines] Pakistan: Proposed Criminal Law Amendment Threatens Freedom of Speech and Expression

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In response to a concerning development in Pakistan, where amendment of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is being proposed, FORUM-ASIA says:

FORUM-ASIA champions freedom of expression and information.

We are concerned about a proposed bill in Pakistan that could imprison anyone who “ridicules or scandalises” state institutions such as the Judiciary and Army for up to 5 years. If approved, the proposed Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act of 2023 punishes those who create and share such statements through any medium. Offenders may face warrantless arrests and non-bailable offences.

Despite calls to amend or revoke existing repressive laws such as the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, the government’s move to further restrict free speech is alarming. FORUM-ASIA is closely monitoring the amendment process. We are calling upon the Government of Pakistan to honor its international obligations regarding freedom of speech.


The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a network of 85 member organisations across 23 countries, mainly in Asia. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The FORUM-ASIA Secretariat is based in Bangkok, with offices in Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu.

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