The Punjab Assembly has revised a law to grant power to arrest and prosecute journalists, bureaucrats and lawmakers.
Earlier, Pakistan People’s Party’s MPA Usman Mehmood chaired the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab Privileges (Amendment) Act, 2021.
Under the Act, Sergeant-at-Arms now has the power to arrest any person on the orders of the Speaker, to prevent them from acting in any manner in breach of privileges within the precincts of the Assembly.
The arrests can be made without warrant, at any place within the “precincts of the Assembly”, which has been defined as the assembly’s courtyard, hall, lobbies, press galleries, rooms etc.
The new Power to Arrest law by Punjab Assembly reads
- Using criminal force to obstruct, assault, threaten or insult any member or an officer carries a punishment of six months and/or fine.
- Tampering with, deterring, threatening, or any way unduly influencing any witness with regard to evidence to be given by him before the Assembly or any Committee, can land a person in prison for one month and/or a fine.
- Presenting to the Assembly or a Committee any false, untrue, fabricated or falsified document means prison for one month and/or a fine.
- Willfully publishing any false or perverted report of any debate or proceedings of the Assembly or any Committee or willfully misrepresenting any speech made by a member before the Assembly is now punishable with imprisonment of three months and/or fine.
- Casting or publishing any reflection upon the character or conduct of the Presiding Officer or any imputation of partiality against him in the discharge of his duties can land you in prison for three months.
- Making or publishing any maliciously false, scandalous, defamatory or derogatory statement concerning any Member is three months prison.
- Printing of a copy of any Act or Ordinance or of any report, paper, minutes or notes of proceedings of the Assembly or any Committee, which in fact has not been so printed, is three months in jail.
- Publication of any proceedings or report of a Committee before they are reported to the Assembly or published in the official Gazette is three months prison.
- Creating or joining in any disturbance in the Chamber or in a Committee is three months.