President Arif Alvi signed the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023 into law on Saturday in ISLAMABAD.
After receiving approval from the National Assembly, the Senate was presented with both measures. After the members of the Treasury criticised the measures, the Senate chairman referred them to the standing committee.
Later, a number of controversial provisions were removed from the two measures, and they were reintroduced to the Senate. They were sent to President Alvi for his assent following approval.
Public Secret Act
A person is culpable of an offence under the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill if he intentionally creates a problem with public order or acts against the state.
Additionally, if a person attacks or damages a restricted area with the intention of providing direct or indirect benefit to the adversary, this conduct is also punishable.
According to the proposed amendment, the accused will be tried by a special court, and a verdict will be rendered within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing.
The Army Act
The Army Act contains provisions regarding military retirement. According to this law, military personnel are prohibited from participating in any political activity for two years after retirement, resignation, or discharge, while military personnel or officers performing sensitive nature of duty duties are prohibited from participating in political activities for five years after service termination.
A retired army officer found guilty of violating the Army Act may be sentenced to up to two years in prison. Also, under the Electronic Crimes Act, any active or retired military personnel who disparages or mocks the army on digital or social media will be punished.
According to this law, any serving or retired officer who defames or incites animosity against the army will be punished with two years in prison and a fine under the Army Act.