NA body for post legislative scrutiny of cyber crime laws

By Adnan Rafique

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology & Telecommunication has decided to carryout post legislative scrutiny of laws related to cyber crimes. The Committee observed that the laws needed to be reviewed in wake of increasing magnitude of the cyber crimes and the shortcomings/handicaps in the legal mechanism to address those complaints. The Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication met under the chairmanship Ali Khan Jadoon, MNA in Parliament House, Islamabad this morning.
The Committee observed that the magnitude of the public complaints received by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) related to cyber crimes had increased whereas the pace of resolution was very slow which either owe to the
capacity issues of the investigating agency or the application of the law. It also took serious note of the pace of investigation on complaints lodged by two members of the Committee with FIA regarding defamation and intrusion
in their privacy by some individuals. The members of the committee had complained that they had to go through cumbersome process of complaint registration.
It observed that if the Committee members being Parliamentarians had to go through those problems then what to think about civilian complainants. The Committee directed FIA to submit updates on complaints both the MNAs to the Committee in its next meeting. The Committee also observed that Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 was either not being implemented or required amendments to bring it in line with the present day requirements.
The Committee decided to discuss establishment of concept of National Center on Cyber Crimes with Representation from HEC and AIR University in its next meeting. The Committee was apprised that National Center for Cyber Security, a joint R&D project of HEC and Planning Commission had already been established in Air University in 2018 and was amicably providing research with regards to cyber security.
It observed that the said Center was an R&D Center and the functions of Coordination and transfer of knowledge proposed in the National Center on Cyber Crimes were missing. It further observed that in wake of increasing cyber crimes and cyber security issues, the inclusion of coordination and transfer of knowledge in the existing National Center for Cyber Security would strengthen the cyber security.
The Committee appreciated the concept paper prepared by the M/o Foreign Affairs on establishment of National Center on Cyber Crimes, and input by the M/o Defence, M/o Interior, IB and NACTA. The Committee also appreciated
the input of PTA regarding consultation process on Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020. The Committee while discussing the implementation status of the recommendation made in its previous meeting, appreciated the Digiskills program being conducted by the M/o Information Technology & Telecommunication.
It observed that the program would help enhance IT skills amongst the youth and encourage free lancing. The Committee while discussing the non-grant of Adhoc Relief Allowance-2019 w.e.f. 1.7.2019 @10% & 5% to serving employees & pensioner of Telephone Industry of Pakistan (TIP) in BPS 1-16 and BPS 17-20, respectively despite Government directions asked M/o IT to seriously consider the grant of the allowance in its next Board meeting of the TIP.
The Secretary apprised the Committee that the TIP due to continuous sustaining of losses and with no earning, was placed on the privatization list of the government. However, keeping in view the multitude of economic activity expected to be generated with CPEC being functional, the industry could reinitiate its production activities and was subsequently delisted from the privatization list.
He informed that the BoD of TIP would consider it in its next meeting and in case of creation of any fiscal space the employees would be granted the Allowance. The meeting was attended by MNAs; Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Sher Ali Arbab, Mr. Muhammad Aslam Khan, Ms. Javaria Zafar Aheer, Ms. Kanwal Shauzab, Ms. Nusrat Wahid, Muhammad Hashim, Mr. Ali Gohar Khan, Ms. Aysha Rajab Ali, Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam, Ms. Maiza Hameed, Ms. Shamim Ara Panhwar, Ms Naz Baloch, Syed Mehmood Shah, Secretary, M/o Information Technology & Telecommunication and other officers of concerned departments.