Owing to countless controversies demanding the implementation of proper monitoring regulations for internet cafes, the Punjab government is going to forward a bill titled “Net Café Regulations Act (Punjab Cyber and Gaming Café Regulations Act) 2012”.
The bill is likely to be tabled in Punjab Assembly after consultation with concerned stakeholders after announcement of budget in June 2012.
According to sources, the bill was expected to be finalized in December 11, 2011, however, disagreement over some conflicting points from cabinet members couldn’t bring it into due action then.
Earlier, after considering various public concerns in a famous television talk show, the Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif ordered regularization of internet cafes. The bill is prepared to implement monitoring internet cafes in Lahore and other parts on province.
According to bill, in net cafes, private cabins will no more be allowed and the existing cabins will be removed. Instead, computers will be placed on simple tables. Moreover, customers will have to provide their identity cards and the net café owners will have to maintain a record of their customers’ identifications. The owner of the café will be culpable for any sort of misuse detected and the cafes will neither remain open after 10 pm nor before 8 am.
Although the bill addresses the main issues, some points have not been included. For example, to mention one, some internet cafés, in order to attract customers and to make them stay for longer, offer “sheesha”. This leads to addiction in youths.
Ironically, despite being an Islamic country, according to statistics Pakistan has topped the list of countries using search engine for the inappropriate keywords during last couple of years. In the year 2011, for about ten months, Lahore was among the top 10 cities where the word ‘sex’ was searched by internet users. Previously, objections about porn content have made the PTA to restrict about 13,000 pornographic websites.