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Governor Saleem Khan Urges Review of Punjab Defamation Bill

 

Punjab’s Governor, Sardar Saleem Khan, may send back the defamation bill to the Punjab Assembly. He highlighted that it is still not time for its final version, and the government must remove all offensive sections from the bill. Speaking at an event for blind individuals in Rawalpindi and during a TV program, the governor acknowledged the storm of controversy surrounding the bill. He expressed his willingness to mediate among stakeholders to resolve the issue, emphasizing that more consultation should have preceded the bill’s introduction.

Concerns Over Hasty Legislation

Governor Saleem Khan admitted that he has not yet read the defamation law but plans to review it with his legal team. He hopes to request a reconsideration from the Punjab government and is optimistic about the possibility of a re-evaluation. He voiced concerns over pervasive corruption, highlighting the misappropriation of billions of rupees without accountability, reflecting weaknesses in Pakistan’s legal and systemic structures. The governor called for unity among political parties to ensure that any law passed serves the public interest rather than creating further chaos.

Support for Press Freedom

Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, Hafiz Naeem your Rehman, assured journalistic organizations of his party’s full support in protesting against the contentious Punjab Defamation Bill 2024. During a press conference at Mansoorah with a delegation from the Joint Action Committee, Rehman emphasized that Jamaat-e-Islami has always fought for press freedom and the supremacy of the constitution and law. He described the defamation bill as a conspiracy to impose restrictions on the media, vowing to defeat it. Rehman declared that any law that stifles free speech is unacceptable and cautioned that if the bill is not withdrawn, there will be a significant movement against it.

Call for Broader Legal Reforms

Rehman also demanded a review of other laws like PEMRA and PECA, which he believes are undemocratic. He criticized the government for trying to control freedom of expression through power, calling the current administration illegitimate and accusing it of enacting anti-public laws. Rehman warned that such actions would further weaken the country and spread chaos. He urged the government, particularly the Punjab administration, to reconsider and repeal the controversial law, advocating for dialogue with journalists to find a mutually agreeable solution.

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