ISLAMABAD - In the final consultative meeting on Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology on Friday decided to re-examine the proposals furnished by various stakeholders , deferring the bill for an indefinite time.
Under the chair of Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, the committee discussed concerns of lawmakers and some critics including a non-governmental organisation.
Amid resistance from government advisers, the chairman decided to defer the final approval of the bill in its current form.  State Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman, during discussion of the meeting, pointed out that the committee deliberated many times the issue and discussed this legislation with members of the civil society as well. On resistance from civil society representatives, Anusha suggested to include religious scholars in the consultation meetings.
The suggestion was strongly opposed by many.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Shazia Mari said that including the religious experts in the sessions would not be appropriate, as religious entity of the country has shown no concern over the bill.
Following intense criticism of the version of the bill, a public hearing cum final consultative meeting was decided at a session a couple of days ago on the insistence of PPP and MQM lawmakers amid strong opposition of ruling party members, who termed it a delaying tactic. It was to grant stakeholders one last chance to get their concerns addressed and invited around half a dozen individuals to the committee for a hearing.
Inviting selected people in the public hearing as the representatives of whole society was criticised by many.
Syed Ahmed of the Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA) reportedly said that six to seven members do not represent the entire IT industry, and the meeting should be more inclusive and more people should be allowed to express their concerns.
Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal, Tallal Chaudhry, Chaudhry Nazeer, Mehar Ishtiaq, Farhana Qamar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Shazia Marri, Nuaman Islam Shiekh, Amjad Ali Khan and Syed Ali Raza Abidi attended Friday’s hearing.