Anyone who divulges critical information pertaining to the nation’s or the army’s security might face up to five years in prison.

The Pakistan Army Act 1952 amendment bill was approved by the Senate on Thursday.

Khawaja Asif, the defense minister, introduced the measure. The Senate also approved two further measures to alter the Defence Housing Authority Islamabad Act of 2013 and the Cantonment Act of 1924.

Senator Mian Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) protested the laws’ passage, calling it “blind legislation” for them to be approved in a single day.

According to the “Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2023” bill, people who reveal information that is detrimental to the nation or the army may face legal repercussions under the Official Secrets Act and the Army Act.

Anyone who divulges critical information about the nation’s or the army’s security might face up to five years in prison.

In accordance with the proposed amendment, Section 26-B would prohibit anybody subject to the Army Act from participating in any political action for two years from the date of their “retirement, release, resignation, discharge, removal, or dismissal from the service.”

Sections 55-A (conflict of interest), 55-B (electronic offences), and 55-C (defamation) are also proposed to be added by the bill.

According to Section 55-B, anybody who violates the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), 2016, does so “with the malafide intention to undermine, ridicule, or scandalize the armed forces of Pakistan,” and will be punished in accordance with the Peca law’s guidelines.

According to Section 55-C of the Army Act, anyone who “ridicules, scandalizes, incites hatred against, or otherwise attempts to lower the standing of the armed forces of Pakistan or any part thereof shall […] be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years or fine, or with both.”