The Senate on Thursday passed a bill proposing amendments to the Pakistan Army Act 1952.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif introduced the law, which was pushed through without being referred to a standing committee.
The measure includes a section that increases the penalty for defaming the army to two years in prison and a fine.
According to the bill’s provisions, unauthorized disclosure of information obtained in the interest of national security or in an official capacity will be severely punished for up to five years; however, disclosure with the permission of the Army Chief or an empowered officer will not be punished.
The bill also states that officials subject to the statute will be barred from participating in political activities for two years following their retirement, resignation, or dismissal.
A person who engages in electronic crime with the intent of defaming the Pakistan Army will be tried under electronic crime, according to the bill.
Senator Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) opposed the bill and walked out of the upper house in protest. According to Raza Rabbani, the Army Act Amendment Bill should be referred to the relevant Standing Committee.
“We were not even provided with copies of the bill that had just sailed through the Senate,” he said, marking the day as a low record in Pakistan’s parliament’s history.
Senators from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also walked out of the proceedings.