We are living in times when the British colonial era-sedition law, which makes section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, is being used rather liberally. The black law must be done away with right away, and all senators regardless of the party divide should support Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Senator Mian Raza Rabbani’s private members’ bill which seeks to amend it. No doubt the British Raj left a bad legacy in the shape of the sedition law. Though many reformative amendments have been introduced in the PPC over the years, section 124-A continues to be the part of the inherited colonial structure of governance in Pakistan. When the colonial administration introduced the law in the pre-Partition era, it was meant for the natives, to enslave them. The need to abolish or amend the law is necessitated by the fact that 23 people were recently taken into custody for the offence. All were later released by the Islamabad High Court. It appears dissent against the government is regarded as sedition, which is quite an un-democratic and non-political approach towards one’s freedom of expression and speech. The Pakistan Penal Code defines sedition as an act that brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government. The maximum punishment for the crime is life imprisonment. It is time for the government and state organs to re-examine their relationship with the people. Neither is the state a master nor citizens treated like subjects in democracies.
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