A Pakistani parliamentary panel has endorsed a controversial law to criminalise any criticism or ridicule of the powerful armed forces with a two-year imprisonment or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.

The legislation was adopted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior on Wednesday despite sharp criticism by the Opposition parties which called it ultra vires of the fundamental rights. The law, which aims to amend the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), was introduced for discussion by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Amjad Ali Khan.