ISLAMABAD: Agreeing to consider making amendments to the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, the government has invited suggestions from all stakeholders, including the public.
Despite being passed by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology, the draft will not be presented before parliament for now because various segments of society have expressed reservations over some of its clauses.
The Pakistan Software Houses Association, the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), journalist bodies and members of the civil society have opposed the draft in its current form.
They say the bill would seriously impact internet users, the information and communications technology industry, the print and electronic media, academicians, researchers, the legal community and ordinary citizens, particularly the educated youth.
During the recent session of parliament, opposition parties had also suggested that the government hold more deliberations on the bill before tabling it for a final vote.
The draft has been uploaded to the National Assembly’s website so that the public could peruse it and make recommendations.
The standing committee’s chairman, Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, announced on the website that the stakeholders, including the public, had seven days to debate the bill.
The objections and proposed amendments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the committee’s secretary.
The modified draft of the bill is available on the websites of the National Assembly (www.na.gov.pk) and the Ministry of Information Technology (www.moit.gov.pk). The stakeholders have started discussions to propose an array of suggestions to the relevant committee in a one-on-one meeting.
Wahaj-us-Siraj, convener of the ISPAK, told The Express Tribune that the information technology industry along with relevant stakeholders and members of the civil society would submit ‘a detailed set of recommendations’ to the government directly so it could be made part of the official record.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2015.