Senate Approves Amendments To Army Act

Senate Approves Amendments To Army Act
The Senate has approved a bill to amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, seeking harsh punishment for anybody who divulges vital military secrets or tries to defame the armed forces in any other way.

According to the bill, people who divulge information that is detrimental to the nation or the Pakistani Army would face legal repercussions under the Official Secrets Act and the Army Act.

A sentence of up to five years is also allowed if someone discloses private information in the interest of national security that was acquired while acting in an official position without the army chief's prior consent.

"Any disclosure made after seeking prior approval from the Chief of the Army Staff, or any officer duly empowered by him, in the manner prescribed, shall not be deemed an unauthorized disclosure," it said.

According to the bill, "Any person who is or has been subject to this Act and discloses or causes to be disclosed any information acquired in an official capacity that is or may be prejudicial to the security and interests of Pakistan or the Armed Forces of Pakistan, shall be guilty of an offense and, upon conviction by the court constituted under this Act, be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term that may extend to five years."

The bill stated that a person would not be penalized if they disclosed the material with the army chief's or another approved officer's consent.

Additionally, it sought to prohibit those who are subject to this act from engaging in political activity for two years following the date of their retirement, release, resignation, discharge, removal, or dismissal from the service. In contrast, those who are "employed, seconded, tasked, or otherwise attached" to "sensitive" duties under the act will be prohibited from engaging in political activity for five years following the termination of their positions.

The bill further declares that anybody found guilty of disparaging the military would face legal repercussions under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016 (Act XL of 2016) or other applicable electronic, digital, and social media laws.