PECA amendments proposed to curb crime against children

Amendments prepared to review the existing laws dealing with cyber crimes against children


APP February 19, 2021
The lawyer also questioned Section 18 of the Cyber Crime Act, saying it gave unbridled powers to the Federal Investigation Agency to access data from mobile phones and computers of citizens without prior investigation. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

A newly-formed task force of Wafaqi Mohtasib (WM) has proposed a set of amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), 2016 to effectively curb cyber crimes against children.

According to Task Force Convener Syeda Waqarun Nisa Hashmi, the amendments were prepared and proposed by its sub-committee, which met here on Thursday to review the existing laws dealing with cyber crimes against children.

She informed that the amendments included replacement of the term 'child pornography' as used in the act with 'child sexual abuse', insertion of a definition for 'complainant'; the addition of more offences such as commercial sexual exploitation of children, cyber enticement, solicitation and grooming, and to make all offences against children under PECA cognisable and non-bailable.

The convener, who also holds the portfolio of Commissioner for Children and Transgender at WM, said amendments were also proposed in procedural laws aimed at authorising the Federal Investigation Agency or police to take cognisance of the offence on its own.

"Especially dissemination of pornographic material on social media, CDs, etc. regardless of the complaint made by the aggrieved and/or if the case is referred to it by any agency or individual people.

She said a draft of the proposed amendments will be presented in the next meeting of the task force to get final approval.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2021.

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