Cyber crimes law to help enforce National Action Plan
ISLAMABAD: Fair or unfair reservations expressed by detractors apart, the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, generally known as cybercrimes law, sternly deals with people, who violate certain objectives of the 20-point counter terrorism National Action Plan (NAP).
Not only the civ-mil leadership but everyone wants strict implementation of all the points of the NAP without any reluctance and discrimination so that it achieves the intended purposes.
The recent high-level huddle involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and top military leaders was meant to ensure that the NAP was enforced in toto. It was noted in these deliberations that there are some gaps in the implementation which need to be plugged to handle the terrorists decisively.
It appears from a cursory look at Prevention of electronic crimes law, approved by the National Assembly after the Senate had cleared it with amendments that the NAP points relating to the electronic offences were kept in view while drafting it.
It provides severe punishment to glorification of an offence. Point 13 of the NAP said concrete measures against promotion of terrorism through Internet and social media will be put in place.
Section 9 of the piece of legislation, which will be signed into the law by President Mamnoon Hussain anytime, says whoever prepares or disseminates information, through any information system or device, with the intent to glorify an offence relating to terrorism or any person convicted of a crime relating to terrorism, or activities of proscribed organizations or individuals or groups shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine which may extend to ten million rupees or with both. Glorification includes depiction of any form of praise or celebration in a desirable manner.
The law also stringently deals with hate speech, another objective of the NAP. Point number six of the NAP says strict action against the literature, newspapers and magazines promoting hatred, decapitation, extremism, sectarianism and intolerance will be taken.
Point numbers 15 and 18 say that no room will be left for extremism in any part of Pakistan and action against elements spreading sectarianism will be taken.
Section l0A of the new law pertaining to hate speech says whoever prepares or disseminates information through any information system device that advances or is likely to advance interfaith, sectarian or racial hatred, shall be punished for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.
Unauthorized cellular phone SIM (subscriber identity module) cards have often been used in terrorist incidents, which had been untraceable after the attacks. A rigorous verification has already been done.
The prevention of electronic crimes law says whoever sells or otherwise provides SIM card, re-usable identification module or universal integrated circuit card (UICC) or other module designed for authenticating users to establish connection with the network card to be used in cellular mobile, wireless phone or other digital devices such as tablets without obtaining and verification of the subscriber’s antecedents in the approved mode and manner shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five hundred thousand rupees or with both.
According to the new law, whoever prepares or disseminates information through any information system or device, that invites or motivates to fund, or recruits people for terrorism or plans for terrorism shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.
Whoever commits or threats to commit any of the offences listed in the law where the commission or threat is with the intent to coerce, intimidate, create a sense of fear, panic or insecurity in the government or the public or a section of the public or community or sect or create a sense of fear or insecurity in society or advance interfaith, sectarian or ethnic hatred; or advance the objectives of proscribed organizations or individuals or groups shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to fourteen years or with fine which may extend to fifty million rupees or with both.