Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has recommended the government of Pakistan to declare Bitcoin / digital currencies illegal in Pakistan.
FIA further recommended the government to include definition and distinct punishment of this emerging crime in the prevention of electronic crimes act (PECA).
“Bitcoin / digital currency is not recognized by State Bank of Pakistan as legitimate business and are causing huge monetary loss to the government exchequer. So it should be declared illegal with the inclusion of definition and distinct punishment of this emerging crime”, official documents revealed.
It maybe recalled that there’s no law in place in Pakistan to deal with Bitcoins. While SBP terms the digital currencies illegal, there is no law in place to deal with cases relating to Bitcoins or any other digital currencies.
FIA made these recommendations — and several other amendments — to improve prevention of electronic crimes act (PECA)-2016.
FIA said that offences under PECA-2016 — other than cyber terrorism [Section.10], offence against modesty of natural person [Section.21] and child pornography [Section.22] — are non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the following serious offences which fall under PECA-2016 are non-cognizable i.e. Law Enforcement Agencies are authorized to initiate the investigation or arrest the accused without the prior permission of the Magistrate.
- Unauthorized Access /modification / deletion / interference to Critical Infrastructure Information Systems/ Data Section 6, 7, 8]
- Electronic Forgery [Section.13]
- Electronic Fraud [Section.14]
- Unauthorized Issuance of SIM [Section.17]
- Tampering of electronic equipment’s [Section. 18]
- Cyber Stalking [Section.24]
- Spoofing [Section.26]
The non-cognizable nature of these critical offences which pertains to the cyber security of the country is impeding the effective investigation and successful prosecution, maintained FIA.
The investigation of these time-critical crimes demands an immediate response by the law enforcement agency to limit and contain the damage caused by offenders. On-time response by the law enforcement agency may improve the detection and apprehension of the accused and also improve evidence collection for successful prosecution.
Furthermore, these major offences are bailable which adversely affects the arrest of accused as bail is granted on first physical remand.
These serious offences are compoundable, which means that at any stage an aggrieved person can enter into a compromise with the accused. Investigation in Cyber Crimes is an expensive process, and after setting the state machinery into motion, entering to compromise at any stage would result in wastage of state resources. A provision to receive cost for that from both the parties seems feasible and in interest of justice.
Official Documents, available with ProPakistani, revealed that the PC-I for Phase-III of NR3C has been prepared and sent for approval.
The new Phase-Ill include the recruitment of new technical and ministerial staff, establishment of 09 new Cyber Crime Police Stations and Digital Forensic Laboratories in Abbottabad, D.I Khan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Gawadar, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Gilgit-Baltistan, technical up-gradation of Six (06) existing NR3C Digital Forensic Laboratories and advanced training of technical officers, Judicial officers, Public Prosecutors and investigation officers.