The FIA on Saturday arrested a woman from Sialkot for engaging in blackmailing activities over social media, making her the first woman to be charged under the cybercrime law.
According to newspaper sources, Sadia Mirza has been accused of blackmailing Ahsan Rana, a resident of London, over Facebook. His Pakistan-based brother, Hassan Rana, filed the complaint, claiming that Mirza had sent his brother threatening messages and demanded money. As per the FIR, Mirza has been charged with “sending threatening, abusive, and lewd messages.”
The investigation and arrest were undertaken by a team headed by Inspector Humaira Kanwal. Mirza has been shifted to the women’s section of the local police station on remand. A case has been registered against her under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 – clauses 20 (1) and 24(b)(c).
Clause 24(b)(c) of the Act, which pertains to cyber stalking, reads as follows.
A person commits the offence of cyber stalking who, with the intent to coerce or intimidate or harass any person, uses information system, information system network, the lnternet, website, electronic mail or any other similar means of communication to –
(b) monitor the use by a person of the internet, electronic mail, text message or any other form of electronic communication;
(c) watch or spy upon a person in a manner that results in fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, in the mind of such person.
The cybercrime law was passed by the National Assembly last year after much deliberation and opposition from certain groups. The law enables better regulation of digital media in Pakistan, and imposes strict penalties for involvement in cybercrime.