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Pakistani court invalidates colonial-era sedition law

A Pakistani court on Thursday declared a colonial-era sedition law unconstitutional, calling it “inconsistent” with the country’s constitution, a lawyer and local media said.

A single-judge bench of the Lahore High Court invalidated the controversial law – Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code – which pertains to the crime of sedition or inciting “disaffection” against the government, on several identical petitions, Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, an attorney for one of the petitioners, told Anadolu.

He added that a written ruling has yet to be released.

The petition argued that the law has been “recklessly” exploited as a tool to curb the right to free speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution.

It cited several cases involving politicians, journalists, and even ordinary citizens, including Shahbaz Gill, a close aide to former Prime Minister Imran Khan, and slain journalist Arshad Sharif, who were charged with sedition in recent years.

Sharif was assassinated in Kenya last year.

Niazi gave credit to the slain journalist who had fought for the repeal of the controversial law.

“I miss you Arshad Sharif, it was your idea and dream to see this law struck down. Thank you Justice Shahid Karim,” he later stated on Twitter.​​​​​​​

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