Punjab Defamation Act 2024 Faces Legal Challenge in Lahore High Court

The plea names the Punjab Chief Minister and Governor as respondents.

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Hours after Acting Punjab Governor Malik Ahmed Khan signed the Punjab Defamation Act 2024, it was promptly challenged in the Lahore High Court.

Journalist Jafar Ahmed Yar and Raja Riaz, represented by Advocate Nadeem Sarwar, have filed a petition in the Lahore High Court.

The petition names the Punjab Chief Minister and Governor, along with the Principal Secretary and Punjab Government, as parties involved.

The petitioner argues that the Defamation Law violates both constitutional provisions and existing legislation. They contend that introducing a new law in the presence of defamation ordinances and acts is unjustifiable.

Furthermore, they criticize the government for not consulting with journalists prior to enacting the new law. According to the petitioner, the Defamation Law was hastily introduced with the aim of restricting journalists’ freedom and media expression.

In their plea, the petitioner requests the court to declare the Defamation Law invalid and prevent its enforcement until a final decision is reached on the matter.

Click Fact Book on Punjab Defamation Law 2024

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Acting Punjab Governor Approves Defamation Bill

The Defamation Bill was previously confirmed signed by Acting Punjab Governor Malik Ahmed Khan at the Governor House.

A summary has been forwarded to the Ministry of Law for the purpose of gazette notification. Upon issuance of this notification, the defamation law will officially take effect in Punjab, applying to all citizens.

Last month, the Punjab Assembly approved the Punjab Defamation Bill 2024, subsequently forwarding it to Punjab Governor Sardar Salim Haider for his approval.

The governor declined to sign the bill, citing certain reservations. Following this, the Punjab government convened a meeting with the governor, but it yielded no outcome.

After the meeting with the governor, sources indicate that PML-N leaders reached out to President Asif Ali Zardari, who suggested that the governor take a leave of absence.

Governor Haider complied and took leave from June 6 to 12. Subsequently, Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Ahmad Khan stepped in as the acting governor and signed the bill on June 7.

Click ‘National Assembly of Pakistan’ Parliamentary History

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