‘FIA facing immense hurdles while collecting data relating social media’

‘’Since Pakistan is not a signatory to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLat), they share information on their will'', NA body told.


A parliamentary committee was notified on the difficulties that FIA has been facing in retrieving data from managements of social media sites, the data needed for the solution of cases of security, cybercrime, and information that may be objectionable.

In a meeting of the National Assembly on Information Technology and communication, under the supervision of a senior FIA official Ali Khan Jadoon, it was revealed that FIA took a time period of eight weeks to provide any type of details about an account.

‘’Since Pakistan is not a signatory to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLat), they share information on their will and normally take eight weeks as they are not bound to share information without an agreement’’ – he stated.

Jawad Paul, Additional Secretary Ministry of Information Technology, told the that the agreement so far had been signed by 64 countries, mostly from Europe. And so he said that it was important to note how countries that are yet to sign the treaty have been handling issues relating cybercrime.

‘’If we sign the agreement, we will have to abide by its rules. Before moving forward, there is a need to look if we signed the agreement how our issues will be addressed’’ – Mr. Jawad stated.

Ministry asked to come up with a working paper till next meeting:

Ministry was asked by the committee to draw a comparison and come up with a working paper until the next meeting. On the basis of which the committee would decide whether or not Pakistan should signature on the agreement for data accession or not.

Previously, the official from FIA informed to the committee that after the Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016 was passed, a total of 42,477 complaints were registered. Out of these, 9,625 complaints were investigated. 16,163 were still pending, while 16,689 were disposed of. Up until now, 904 suspects were put in jail and 936 FIRs have been filed.

Further on, the committee was also notified about the cybercrime project phase-III that was launched in September 2018. For the hiring of 416 new staffers, no-objection certificates had been obtained. Briefing on NIC (National Incubation Centre) was also done.

No mobile sims to be sold on streets:


The committee also took notice of the selling of mobile phone Sims in the streets. PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) was directed to take notice of the situation. A working paper by PTA was shared amongst the committee. This paper stated that a web analysis cell was present to process and receive complaints that required internet content protocols. A total of 925048 URLs have been blocked, out of these 11,538 were anti-state, 2,098 defamatory, 6,035 anti-judiciary, 50,331 blasphemous, 83,1362 relevant to pornography and 9,127 related to hate speech.

Head of PTCL employees also informed the committee about the difficulties they faced. As a result, a subcommittee, having three members, and led by Sher Ali Arbab, for handling issues faced by PTCL employees was formed.

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