International Cooperation and Legal Response to Cybercrime in Pakistan

International Cooperation and Legal Response to Cybercrime in Pakistan

Tansif Ur Rehman (University of Karachi, Pakistan)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9715-5.ch029

Abstract

According to Internet World Stats (IWS), the total number of internet users in in Pakistan during October 2018 was 44,608,065, which is 22.2% of the total population. More than 30 million of Pakistan's 212 million people use the internet via mobile devices. The literacy rate of the country is quite low as compared to other countries (i.e., 58%). This research focuses on the common patterns of cyber criminals and the required legislation and enforcement of existing laws along with the need of international cooperation to counter global cyber threat.
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Objectives

  • 1.

    To highlight the main aims of Electronic Transactions Ordinance, 2002.

  • 2.

    To highlight the formation of National Response Centre for Cyber Crime.

  • 3.

    To critically analyze the role of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

  • 4.

    To highlight the legislation in Pakistan for international cooperation regarding cybercrime.

  • 5.

    To discuss the legal response to cybercrime in Pakistan.

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Background

A bill has to be passed by both Houses of Parliament, i.e. the National Assembly and the Senate. Upon a bill’s passage through both Houses, it is presented to the President of Pakistan for assent and becomes an Act of Parliament upon receiving such assent. In National Assembly’s absence, statutes are promulgated by the President. The President may, if satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action, make and promulgate an Ordinance (Sial & Iqbal, 2015).

The respective framework, i.e., Electronic Transactions' Ordinance, 2002 has provided Pakistan with an initial legal backing regarding e-information as well as communication. National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C) formed in 2007 is another initiative taken by the Government of Pakistan to trace cyber criminals and to counter the internet misuse.

While, the National Assembly of Pakistan has passed the draft of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA) on 13th April, 2016 after making various amendments to it. PECA was drafted as being part of the National Action Plan (NAP), which was developed in response to the December 2014 attack on Army Public School, Peshawar. This attack took life of 150 people (including 132 children) (Khan, 2018). NAP is a 20 points plan for countering terrorism as well as extremism. It was drafted by the National Counter Terrorism Authority and Ministry of Interior. It got approval from the Parliament on December 24, 2014 (Haider, 2014).

Anusha Rahman Khan - Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication of Pakistan and member of the committee for development of ‘Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016’ (PECA) admitted in a summarized note that, Pakistan has no such laws before to deal comprehensively with cybercrime. She belongs to Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which is a centre-right conservative party in Pakistan. She also admitted that, criminal justice legal framework is ill equipped as well as inadequate and to resolve the respective threats of the cyber age.

Although, the PECA has been approved and came into system, but there is huge criticism from the opposition and the IT industry. Critics believe it to be harsh, with punishments not fitting the respective crimes. Another problem is the bill’s language, as it could be abused by the government as well as law enforcement agencies in Pakistan.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cybercrime Legislation: The process of making laws regulating cybercrime.

Cybercrime: The use of a computer to commit a crime.

Cyberstalking: The use of information and communication technology to frighten or harass an individual or group.

Cyberterrorism: The use of information and communication technology to cause grave disruption or pervasive fear.

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