Cybercrime bill

Cybercrime bill

EVEN after months of back and forth over the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015, there seem to be few signs of saner counsel prevailing in the country’s legislature.

Now, with the bill having been adopted by the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology on Tuesday, and set to be put before the upper house during the ongoing session, time seems to be rapidly running out.

From digital rights groups and IT experts, the various iterations of this piece of legislation have attracted controversy, much of it well deserved; the criticism has been based primarily on the fact that earlier versions of the bill betrayed a dangerous unfamiliarity with the realities and ramifications of the digital world, turning minor transgressions that could be committed in error or ignorance into offences with hefty jail terms and/or fines, and containing overly broad categories and sweeping statements.

And while it is true, as legislators including the Senate IT committee chairman, have pointed out, that a process of discussion was held with individuals within parliament as well as digital rights groups outside of it, the fact remains that this was after hectic lobbying by the latter.

More pertinently, there is too much in the proposed bill that still raises serious doubts about its long-term efficacy — thus requiring a further, prolonged and open-minded conversation between those who are attempting to rush the proposed legislation through and those voicing concern over it.

Part of the problem seems to be that those quarters in government that are pushing for the early passage of this legislative formula into law appear to have taken an unnecessarily adversarial and uncompromising position on the issue — the reason being difficult to ascertain.

Consider, for example, what the state minister for IT, Anusha Rehman, had to say: local NGOs were demanding that people be allowed to self-regulate. But this is far from the case and would at any rate be highly inadvisable.

Indeed, there is no argument at all that laws to regulate all manner of cybercrime, ranging from data theft to the malicious invasion of privacy, are needed. But by all accounts, this version of the draft remains flawed and contentious.

From as high a forum as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has come an open letter warning that the adoption of the law would have immense ramifications on constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms.

Amongst the reservations it cites are vague formulations, contradictions and points of conflict with other laws.

Time may be short, but a softening of stance can achieve the desired reboot.

The Senate needs reminding that this legislation, if and in the form it is passed, would become a basic building block of subsequent law on the cyber world and the internet.

Getting this first step wrong would be perilous for Pakistan.

Source/Credit: Dawn

22 die as rain, floods batter KP, Punjab

22 die as rain, floods batter KP, Punjab

PESHAWAR/LAHORE: At least 22 people were killed and over 60 others injured as widespread downpour and flash floods wreaked havoc in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab on Wednesday.

The Pakistan Meteorolo­gical Department issued an alert for glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) in Chitral district and asked the authorities concerned to adopt precautionary measures.

On July 2, flash floods claimed 29 lives in Chitral.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said in a statement that three people lost their lives in Abbottabad and two in Upper Dir in rain-related incidents. Three people were injured in the two districts. It said two houses in Haripur and one residential quarter in Abbottabad collapsed.

Source/Credit: Dawn

Pakistan will bounce back, says Inzamam

KARACHI: Pakistan’s lacklustre display at Old Trafford last week allowed England to level the four Test-match series 1-1, as Alastair Cook’s men thrashed the visitors by 330 runs in the second Test.

However, Pakistan’s newly appointed chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq seemed optimistic about Pakistan’s strong comeback in the upcoming fixtures while giving an interview to Sky Sports on Wednesday.

“I am convinced that as the players get more experience in these conditions, their performance will improve and Pakistan will get better results and bounce back,” Inzamam said.

“The win at Lord’s has shown everyone that this team is more than capable of winning against tough opposition and in foreign conditions,” the 46-year-old said.

“The Old Trafford Test obviously did not go that well, but then we have to give credit to England for making a comeback in this series which shows that they are a very tough team to beat.”

Pakistan’s batting relied heavily on skipper Misbah-ul-Haq who has scored the third highest runs in the ongoing Test series after Joe Root and Alastair Cook in the first two Tests.

“Misbah has shown the way for all batsmen to follow,” Inzamam said.

“His age is not an issue – there is absolutely no limit on the age of a player for him to be part of the Pakistan team. The only factor that matters is the level of performance and the fitness he displays.”

“The way Misbah is playing now, I see no reason why he should not be given the opportunity to represent Pakistan in upcoming tours to New Zealand and Australia as his experience will be crucial for the team.”

Inzamam, under whose leadership the infamous 2006 ball-tempering controversy unfolded at The Oval in 2006, emphasised that performances by Misbah and senior pro Younis Khan are key for national side’s success in the remaining matches.

“Younis is too good a player to be kept quiet for long and I am confident that we can rely on his experience and that of misbah in the next two Tests,” said Inzamam who is ranked among the greats of the game.

The burly official also had high praise for England number three Joe Root for his flawless 406-ball 254 that took away the game from the visitors. “Root has really imp­ressed me,” said Inzamam.

“I’ve watched his career closely; he is a fantastic player and seems to be improving with every innings that he plays,” remarked Inzi who captained Pakistan in 31 Tests matches.

Source/Credit: Dawn