ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence Wednesday observed that there is lack of coordination among all the relevant departments on the cyber crimes related issues.

The meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence was held at the Parliament House here under the chairmanship of Amjid Ali Khan, MNA.

Pervez Khattak, Minister for Defence, also attended the meeting. Federal secretaries of ministries of Interior, Information Technology and Telecommunication, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), DGs National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were invited to brief the committee on cyber crimes related issues.

The committee observed that there is lack of coordination among all the departments on cyber crimes related issues. It directed the Ministry of Interior to collect information from federal and provincial departments on the said issues and submit a comprehensive report in the next meeting of the committee.

Chairman PTA Amir Azeem Bajwa apprised the committee that under Section 37 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, the Authority has the power to remove or block or issue directions for removal or blocking of access to an information through any information system if it considers it necessary in the interest of the glory of Islam, integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court or commission of or incitement to an offence.

Orders prompt action against posting of blasphemous material

The committee directed that all the concerned departments should take prompt action on zero tolerance against the culprits who posted blasphemous material and any kind of anti-state contents on the social media.

Acting DG FIA Dr. Ejaz briefed the committee about the issue the Agency has been facing with on tackling cyber crime. He told the committee that most of the social media companies are bases outside Pakistan and that the country is not a signatory to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which leads to problems for the Agency when it comes to tackling the cyber crime.

He said FIA could move against cyber terrorism, immoral posts, and porn content only. He said the Agency cannot become complainant in a case and acts only the complaints lodged with the Agency. He hoped that ministry of interior would sign the treaty to facilitate the department in cyber crime tackling.

Committee Chairman Amjad Khan told the participants that he was concerned about the on national institutions on social media. He observed that some people were busy maligning national institutions while sitting inside the country.

NACTA is among the 31 departments which have been given access to PTA portal and they report to NACTA on objectionable content on social media. PTA received 17,000 complaints and it blocked 1943 accounts. FIA officials told the committee that 1068 FIRs were registered under cyber crime laws and 987 persons were also arrested.

In reply to a question, Secretary Defence Lt. General (Retd) Ikram Ul Haq told the committee that Pakistan never accepted Article 370 of the Indian constitution.