ISLAMABAD - National Assembly's Standing Committee on Information Technology on Thursday unanimously approved the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 and referred it to Parliament for final approval.

During the meeting, State Minister for IT, Anusha Rehman, said that the cyber crime bill was required to meet the challenges of modern era and to eliminate terrorism from the country. She said that last governments had initiated the bill and worked on it.

The bill was consulted with all stakeholders during 2010-12 and was submitted in the Nataional Assembly in November 2012, but no further action was taken, she said.

"After coming to power, we started working on the bill and in the guidance of Budapest Convention on cyber crimes drafted it again in consultation with all stake holders," she continued.

She insisted that the role of her ministry was of a secretariat after it was submitted to Prime Minister office last year, and further amendments were done by sub-standing committee who in consultation with all concerned law enforcement agencies considered every article.

She further highlighted that in the proposed bill all articles were in line with the Constitution of Pakistan.

Discussing grey traffic, Chairman PTA Ismael Shah said that after eliminating ICH grey traffic has been reduced considerably.

"Grey traffic had pushed the telecom sector into a monopolistic environment where LDIs formed a cartel. Call charges on incoming international calls shot up and incoming minutes dropped from roughly two billion to 400 million minutes," the PTA chairman said.

He said after abolishing the grey traffic, the white traffic (legal calls) have increased from 400 to 852 million minutes; and by April we are expecting that it would go to one billion minutes, Ismael Shah said.

The committee was further briefed that in ICH regime, the entire incoming telephonic traffic was put at the disposal of the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited.

And the corporation along with other operators formed a cartel, which increased call cost to consumers and also deprived national kitty.

The committee members discussed that the stakeholders who initiated ICH and those who made cartels and deprived national kitty from Rs.400 billion approximately, should be investigated by NAB.