Cybercrime case: PTA told to regulate uploading of images
By Tahir Siddiqui
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday observed that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) must provide guidelines to internet service providers to discourage the uploading of objectionable and obscene images in the country.
A division bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim made the observation while hearing a constitutional petition of a bank officer whose young daughter’s fake photographs were uploaded on a website.
The counsel for the PTA submitted in court that the PTA was a monitoring authority and it had no control over the uploading of objectionable images within the country.
The court observed: “We are of the opinion that the monitoring authority must regulate such issues by providing guidelines to the ISPs discouraging uploading of objectionable/obscene images from Pakistan and such material should be filtered before it is uploaded.”
The bench ordered that it would hear the counsel for the PTA on the next date with a proposal on the issue to ensure that in future obscene images uploaded through ISPs or otherwise in Pakistan should not appear on websites within the country.
The hearing was adjourned to Sept 8.
The petition was filed against the project director of the national response centre for cybercrimes and the additional director of the federal investigation agency for not taking action against the accused involved in the cybercrime.
The petitioner submitted that Faheem Mughal fraudulently obtained pictures of his 16-year-old daughter from the mobile phone of his 12-year-old son. The suspect prepared a video by rendering repeated images and adding objectionable features to it. The video was later uploaded on YouTube, he said.
He stated that the fake photographs and video ruined the life of his innocent daughter who stopped going to college because of harassment. He alleged that despite lodging complaints with the FIA and the cybercrime police station in Karachi, neither the accused was arrested nor the obscene video removed from the website.
The petitioner submitted that accused Mughal, who posed himself to be an official of a law-enforcement agency, was blackmailing the petitioner’s daughter into accepting his friendship proposal. He stated that since a cousin of the accused, Babar Shah, who was a sub-inspector in the Intelligence Bureau, had influence with local police, they were not registering an FIR against him.
The petitioner, a bank officer, said that SI Babar Shah later came to his house and told him that his son’s friend had committed a mistake, but he assured him that his daughter would not be embarrassed anymore.
However, the petitioner said, Mughal started sending text messages on his daughter’s cellphone after he was posted out of Mirpurkhas.
The bank officer said Mughal phoned at his house on April 9 telling his wife that their daughter’s objectionable photographs had been uploaded on YouTube.
He alleged that Babar Shah’s son, Noman Shah, played a role in the whole affair. He said Babar Shah had earlier approached him with a marriage proposal of Noman Shah for his daughter, but he turned down the proposal.
The petitioner said that later he wrote a letter to the FIA’s cybercrime officer in Islamabad. The cybercrime office advised him to approach the FIA’s cybercrime wing in Karachi. He said that he lodged a complaint with the cybercrime unit of the FIA on April 23.
While the objectionable material was blocked with the help of the cybercrime wing, the accused was not arrested, the petitioner said.