Cyber Crime Bill to Become a Law in Pakistan from August 1st: Anusha

Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman said that the amended “Electronic Crime Bill 2016” will be made a law next week to affectively deal with cyber crimes in the country.

“The amended Bill will be presented before the National Assembly on August 1 (Monday) and would get an easy sail to become a law”, Anusha Rehman told this correspondent here on Friday.

After passing the Bill from the Senate, it would be sent back to the National Assembly as amendments are being made in the Bill. The Bill would come into law, after passing it from the Lower House.

It must be noted that Senate’s Standing committee on IT, headed by Shahi Syed, gave substantial input and made amendments in 16 different sections of the bill to safeguard common man.

The minister, on the other hands, refuted the Opposition party’s claims of bringing 50 amendments in the Electronic Crime Bill and said these minor amendments were made in 8 different sections only (which were in addition to 16 amendments that were made by standing committee).

“These were slight amendments/changes in only eight sections and would not affect the basic purpose of the Bill”, said the minister.

She also criticized Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party for his objections on the Bill at the eleventh hour while saying that the Party had nominated Senator Farhatullah Baber who gave a significant input in the Bill.

She said that a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Pakistan Aitzaz Ahsan held before presenting the Bill in the House, where the later raised concerns about the repercussions of the proposed law on electronic media, but he was told that electronic media do not fall in the ambit of Cyber Crime Bill.

The minister said that the proposed law would help in reduction of women harassment. Women living in rural areas some times fall prey through internet/social media/computer and get victimize, however this law would help in reduction of such crimes.

IT Minister said that internet is the engine of economic growth in the modern world and any country cannot afford to block it every time; however there was need of such legislation to resolve the issue permanently.

Currently Pakistan has no law to comprehensively deal with the growing threat of cyber crime. Telecommunication laws have no such provision to deal with traditional online crime, said the minister, adding that effectively addressing these unique and unprecedented crimes with similarly unique and necessary procedural powers requires a completely new and comprehensive legal framework that focuses on online conduct of individuals/organizations in the virtual world.

She further said that the legislation therefore, establishes new offences including illegal access of data (hacking), as well as interference with data and information systems, specialized cyber related electronic forgery and electronic fraud, cyber terrorism (electronic or cyber attack on the critical information infrastructure), unauthorized interception conducted by civilians, use of malicious code viruses, identity theft etc.