Cyber terrorists to be jailed for 14 years
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed the controversial cybercrime bill through a majority vote that prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail and Rs5 million in fine for cyber-terrorism.
However, activists and opposition lawmakers criticised the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill, 2015 as repressive which curbs free speech and violates fundamental human rights protected under the Constitution.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) put up stiff resistance to the bill
PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi even made one last attempt to stop its passage, urging the minister of information technology not to rush the legislation, instead engage the opposition to secure unanimous approval.
However, the government used its superior numbers in the house to pass the bill through a voice vote.
It will now be sent to President Mamnoon Hussain to be signed into law.
With sweeping language and a broad scope, the law criminalises cyber terrorism, electronic fraud, exaggeration of forgery, hate speech, child pornography, hacking as well as interfering with data and information system (DOS and DDOS attacks), electronic fraud, cyber-stalking, phishing and spamming.
“All offences under this Act, except the offences under sections 10 [cyber terrorism], 19 [offences against modesty of a natural person and minor] and 19A [child pornography] and abetment thereof, shall be non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable,” reads Section 40 of the bill.
he bill sets a prison term of up to 14 years and Rs5 million in fines for cyber terrorism. Further, a term of up to seven years has been set for terror financing through the internet. The bill also prescribes a penalty of up to seven years in jail or fine for preparing or disseminating material which causes inter-faith, sectarian or racial hatred.
Child pornography online has been made a non-bailable offence and carries a prison term of up to seven years and Rs5 million in fine.
The bill will also apply on people who are engaged in anti-state activities online in other countries with Illegal use of internet data and tampering mobile phones will carry penalties of up to three years in jail and Rs1 million in fine.