The rapid evolution of information technology is transforming our society and its institutions have created many problems such as cybercrime. It has a wide range of applications in every walk of life and has directly or indirectly affected almost all sectors of society. Nevertheless, developing countries are not acquainted with technology, these lag in progress which leads to computer crimes and other associated complications. Numerous electronic crimes which are prevailing in Pakistan are not covered under any suitable legislation. As recently in 2016, then PML-N government enacted Pakistan Electronic Crimes Prevention Act 2016 to curb cybercrimes, but critics call it a draconian law, as it curtails a constitutional right of freedom of speech. Moreover, it does not cover many of the existing crimes and many laws are left unaddressed for a self-interpretation. 

Back in 2002, Pakistan’s first law on cyber-crime was enacted through Electronic Transactions Ordinance, which merely addressed a few crimes, as the main purpose of the Ordinance was to recognize and facilitate documents, records, information, communications, and transactions in electronic form, and to provide for the accreditation of certification service providers. Thus, it was a step towards the new era, till the promulgation of PECA, the provisions of this Ordinance were used to cover the cyber-crime. Under this Ordinance, many aspects of cyber-crime were not covered. With the emergence of electronic crime, the demand for legislation on the subject increased. Consequently, in 2007, the then President of Pakistan promulgated “the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2007”, to give legal cover to a few of the existing crimes. These Ordinances were not tabled in parliament and lapsed on completion of constitutional time as, in Pakistan; the Presidential Ordinance is only applicable for one hundred and twenty days from the date of its promulgation. These Ordinances were a stop-gap arrangement, which bears no fruit for the judiciary as well as for law enforcement agencies.

Without determining the exact role of any entity, it is not possible to find an accurate solution for that. Since the country has been newly introduced in the cyber world, therefore; it has a lot of significance. However, three decades ago the commission of cyber-crimes was not significant as most of the people were unaware of cyber-crimes. Internet aids the world with numerous benefits to society and business; besides these blessings, it opens doors for criminal activities too. According to a research, 22.2% of the population makes up 44,608,065 internet users, made 43,372 comments on 43 women politicians of 7 different political parties during the 2018 election revealed that 6% of comments were unwelcoming and 4% of comments were simply abuse. These comments were not just a part of the political victimization but were sexist and racist too. This problem has failed to become part of Pakistan’s legal system, because the world is enacting many laws for tackling emerging cyber-crimes, and the legislature in Pakistan is not taking it seriously to control the emerging situation. The Pakistan internet market has grown manifold with the majority of internet users in big cities, in addition to a small number of users in other cities and rural areas. These cities provide the majority of the “customer base and expansion in activity is also likely to remain primarily confined to these cities because of the concentration of economic activity in these cities.” The availability of computers and internet connections, provide “unprecedented opportunities to communicate and learn in Pakistan. However, certain individuals (and corporations) exploit the power of the internet for criminal purposes.” During the past few years’ cybercrimes in Pakistan are skyrocketing, though the rising number of complaint on cybercrimes is not streamlined. In 2017 alone there were 1290 reported inquiries, 207 cases and 160 arrests were made, but unfortunately, it swelled to 2,295 inquiries, 255 cases, and 209 arrests. During a recent Parliamentary Committee’s meeting, FIA told that there are 29,577 cases of cybercrime reported in 2.5 years. Therefore, we can easily conclude that Pakistan is not free of cyberspace problems.

We can easily conclude that there was no particular law to cover the cyber-related issues in Pakistan to date. Masses are not seriously looking forward to significant steps to protect the nation from cybercrimes where in most cases it is not possible to apprehend the offenders who are either not within national borders or because they are working secretly.

However, the newly enacted legislation strengthens the law enforcement agencies by extending the international cooperation for investigation purposes. Absolute elimination of cybercrime from the cyberspace is challenging, though it is quite possible to take suitable initiatives to reduce it by creating awareness among the users of the internet. Additionally, the government should also come up with a solution by establishing a rapid response call center so that online content can be blocked rapidly rather long bureaucratic setup. This initial step is to make people aware of the sensitiveness of these crimes and further is to make the application of the laws more severe to check the commission of the crime.