Cyber crime: FIA arrests alleged Facebook blackmailer

Published: June 8, 2014
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"The government should think about making laws relating to cyber crimes in Pakistan," suggested a senior official of the cell. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

"The government should think about making laws relating to cyber crimes in Pakistan," suggested a senior official of the cell. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: 

The Cyber Crime Circle of the Federal Investigation Agency claims to have arrested a man allegedly involved in blackmailing a British national via the social networking website, Facebook.

The accused, 30-year-old Babar Zafar, was arrested on Saturday during a raid at his residence at Tauheed Commercial, Defence Housing Authority. He was shifted to the Crime Circle Cell for further questioning.

The Cyber Crime Circle acted upon the complaint of a young complainant, S*, who is a dual national of Pakistan and Britain. She had approached the FIA through a community welfare wing in Manchester. The complainant, in her written application, had informed the FIA that she had befriended the accused on Facebook in April last year.

Sometime later, the accused had asked S* to marry him. A meeting was arranged in Dubai, where the two spent nine days at a hotel in February 2014. S* claimed that Zafar insisted she marry him and had also taken explicit pictures of her.

He later came back to Pakistan and started using the pictures to blackmail S*, an investigating officer told The Express Tribune, on the condition of anonymity. The officer added that Zafar made a fake account on Facebook from which he shared the pictures with S*’s friends and family, all the while threatening her of inflicting more damage if she didn’t accept his marriage proposal.

The Cyber Crime Circle was approached in May earlier this year to investigate the case. “Within two weeks, we traced and arrested the accused,” said the Cyber Crime Circle’s additional director, Asim Iftikhar. “We have also seized a computer which has all the data, including the pictures.” The official added that they were trying to get details regarding the background or history of the suspect, who had earlier claimed to be a teacher.

Crimes on the rise

Cyber crimes are on the rise in Pakistan. Around 37 cases have been registered at FIA’s Cyber Crime Circle this year alone. In May 2013, the police rescued a teenager who had been kidnapped by a stranger he befriended on Facebook. Besides kidnappings, various cases of blackmailing or threats through social media have occurred in the city. Very few of these cases attract the attention of the media as most are hushed to protect the honour of the victim. Unfortunately, the government has yet to approve a law for such crimes in the country.

“The government should think about making laws relating to cyber crimes in Pakistan,” suggested a senior official of the cell. “The good news is that a cyber-crime bill is likely to be tabled soon.”

As of now, officials of the Cyber Crime Circle use the Electronic Transaction Ordinance, 2002, and the Pakistan Penal Code to make their cases. These, however, often benefit the suspects. “Of the 37 cases this year, 23 related to blackmailing through social media,” said another FIA official. “In the absence of cyber-crime laws, however, it was difficult to prove them guilty.” said another official.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • R2D2
    Jun 8, 2014 - 8:11AM

    Awwww…how romantic. Wonder why the girl didnt accept the proposal

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  • Jun 8, 2014 - 11:30AM

    cyber crime is going to be common now a days and law should be strongly apply on that. Always be careful when you create username and password that are not easy to hack. Don’t use the same login information on every account and change your passwords often.

    Recommend

  • KillerElite
    Jun 8, 2014 - 12:47PM

    Both should be arrested and punished, Girl is not such innocent as she is pretending, how guy managed to get exlicity pictures of girl, definite she has provided herself, so firstly she should be charge of distributing explicit content and later guy for blackmailing..

    Recommend

  • DungerDocter
    Jun 8, 2014 - 12:52PM

    youth should avoid misusing of social media. They should avoid playing docter docter…,, If this continous I fear the best solution would be to block all this social sites and then Na rahay ga bans or na bajay ki bansoree..

    Recommend

  • Troubled
    Jun 8, 2014 - 4:25PM

    @KillerElite:
    You are a fool. I am sure you believe honor killings are acceptable as well.

    Recommend

  • Racer
    Jun 8, 2014 - 4:59PM

    Enjoy the pictures!

    Recommend

  • KillerElite
    Jun 8, 2014 - 6:18PM

    @Troubled:
    And u r a brother, who is protesting on free distribution of copyright content….

    Pakistani should only be punished because he is Pakistani National N Girl should be given privilage because she is british, In this whole story both are equal responsible…, so if punished both should be punished otherwise biased justice will create another rebal…!!

    Recommend

  • truth
    Jun 8, 2014 - 7:53PM

    she stayed with him for 9 days in a hotel….for what??????????Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2014 - 2:37PM

    Sir em facng a difficult situation lyle someone is blackmailng me..aat should i do

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  • Oct 4, 2014 - 2:57AM

    hello please some one help me i want to close my fake account on fb it harras me alot

    Recommend

  • john
    Oct 15, 2014 - 11:35AM

    @mona. Goto facebook. Click on settings menu. Once you are on settings menu, click on security on menu on left hand side. On security options you will see a deactivate account option on bottom. click on that. It will open a new page giving you further options and will deactivate your profile.

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  • zain
    Oct 15, 2014 - 11:50AM

    @mona:
    Login to account you want to disable. on facebook page you will see settings options in top right hand corner alongwith other options. Click on it. Once on the settings page, click on security option on left hand side. On security page click on deactivate my account link at bottom. On deactivate account page select options most suited to you.

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  • mona khalid
    Oct 15, 2014 - 1:18PM

    Hey i dont want to deactive my fb there is some one create a fake page and copy my pivture and pasting there i want to close this if you can help me on this

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