'Controversial Bill' approved by NA on Cyber Terrorism

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Thursday, 16 April 2015 19:42

ISLAMABAD: A ‘controversial legislation’ on cyber terrorism has been approved by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology on Thursday and further referred it to Parliament for final approval.

The parliamentary panel adopted the Cyber Crimes Bill 2015 without considering objections as serious or merited.

A majority of members failed to turn up at the meeting, paving way for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) legislators to surpass those critical of the legislation, including the media, internet service providers, NGOs and members of civil society.

State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman told media it was incorrect to say that the legislation is non-transparent and non-consultative.

Safeguards have been ensured against any expected misuse, and there is no substance in the criticism on the legislation, she assured.

She further argued that once the legislation is passed, Pakistan would succeed to convince Google to launch YouTube.com.pk — a local version of the YouTube.

Bolo Bhi Director Farieha Aziz said the draft bill in its current form will seriously impact internet users, the ICT industry, print and electronic media, academicians, researchers, the legal community and the educated youth as well as ordinary citizens of Pakistan.

MNA Talal Chaudhry said we should trust that our institutions will not misuse this new legislation, while Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal termed the bill a perfect legislation, saying one out 100 officers may misuse the law.

Meanwhile, arguing against freedom of speech and in favour of the legislation, Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar said there is no concept of freedom, except the one that is defined in Quran and Sunnah.

The only legislator not part of the PML-N at the committee meeting was Syed Raza Abedi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Abedi also supported the legislation, saying such a mechanism for social media would help contain the ‘online brigade’ of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

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