Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Opening Avenues: Pakistan and Mauritius Vow to Come More Closer

Known for its beautiful terrain Marituius is a heaven for tourists and film makers in Southern part of African continent. The country includes the island of Mauritius,  Rodriguez and some outer islands. The islands of Mauritius and Rodriguez (172 km (107 mi) southwest) form part of the Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2,040 km2. The capital and largest city is Port Louis

Mauritian President Dr Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim has visited Pakistan most recently. H.E Dr Ameenah Firdaus arrived in Karachi on Sunday on the invitation of President Mamnoon Hussain.
She was received by Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad Khan, members of the provincial cabinet and the Sindh Assembly at the Jinnah International Airport.
The president held a meeting with Dr Ishratul Ebad and discussed matters of mutual interest. She is due to visit Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the University of Karachi.
During her four-day stay in Pakistan, the Mauritius president who is leading a nine-member delegation has also visited Islamabad.
H.E Ms. Ameenah has met with President Mamnoon Hussain at Aiwan-e-Sadr Islamabad. During the meeting matters of mutual interest as well as regional and international importance came under discussion.

Pakistan and Mauritius enjoy close and cordial relations, which are based on mutual identity of views on regional and global issues Establishment of  air links between Pakistan & Mauritius was also discussed. President Mamnoon Hussain also hosted a lunch in honor of the visiting leader and her delegation.
Prior to the meeting President Mamnoon Hussain greeted the Mauritian President at the presidency who had earlier arrived in the capital from Karachi on Sunday.

A contingent of tri-services guard presented guard of honour to the visiting dignitary, who also reviewed the parade. The national anthems of the two countries were played.

Dr. Ameenah planted a friendship sapling at the memorial garden of Shakar­parian on Sunday. Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman, the Minister-in-waiting, and senior officials of the Capital Devel­opment Authority accompanied the visiting dignitary. The Mauritius president also visited the Pakistan Monument, which represents four provinces and three territories of the country.

The visit has set the grounds for a new era of relationship between the two countries. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

SECURING THE CYBER AIR WAVES (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, 2015)

In today’s epoch the increasing influence of internet on its users worldwide cannot be denied. With the increasing presence of ‘Cyber Influence’, Pakistan too promulgated the Cyber Crime Prevention Bill in 2007 and Prevention of Electronic Crime 2008.  As internet has grown in our Country, the need has been felt to enact the relevant Cyber laws which are necessary to regulate internet in Pakistan.  Pakistan has no comprehensive system to deal with growing threat of cyber crimes. The centuries old criminal justice legal framework is inadequate and ill-equipped to address the sophisticated online threats of 21st century cyber age.

In light of the changing communication dynamics, National Assembly unanimously passed "The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, 2015", declaring electronic fraud, pornographic material about children, illegal access of data (hacking), use of malicious code viruses and other such things punishable acts. This Act may be called the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2015.It extends to the whole of Pakistan.It shall also apply notwithstanding the matters being the subject hereof occurring outside Pakistan, in so far as they are directly or indirectly connected to, or have an effect on or bearing in relation to persons, information system or events within the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan The bill comprise of five chapters and 51 clauses. According to the 43-page bill, the first legislation to control cybercrimes, illegal hacking of data, illegal interference, electronic forgery and fraud, Identity Crime, special protection of women and cyber terrorism would be punishable with imprisonment and heavy fines after the approval from the Senate.

The legislation provides new investigative power hitherto unavailable such as search and seizure of digital forensic evidence using technological means, production orders for electronic evidences and other enabling powers which are necessary to investigate cyber crimes cases. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, 2015 bill also afford protection to citizen which has hitherto not been completely effective, exposing them to the unmitigated threats posed by cyber criminals both home and abroad.

The bill, moved by State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman, has given power to federal government to establish or designate a law enforcement agency to probe above mentioned offences under this act. The bill says, if any civilian intercepts or uses malicious code virus or makes any attempt for identity theft would also be sent behind the bars. Creating a sense of fear or panic or insecurity in public, or advancing religious ethic or sectarian discord has been put under the cyber terrorism.

Electronic forgery, electronic fraud, obtaining or supplying device for the use in any offence, unauthorised use of identity information, unauthorised issuance of SIM cards, tempering of communication equipment would be punishable with imprisonment and heavy fines.

The issuance of unauthorised SIM cards will be cognisable offence by the investigation agency on a written complaint by the Authority. Displaying false information about any person would also be punishable up to three years imprisonment or one million rupees fine. Superimposing a photograph of the face of any natural person over any sexually explicit image or including anyone's video or picture in sexually explicit conduct may be punished with imprisonment up to seven years or fine up to rupees ten million or both.

If someone transmits harmful, misleading, illegal or unsolicited information to any person without permission of recipient would be sentenced to jail up to three months or fine up to one million rupees or both.  If someone dishonestly establishes a website or sends information with a counterfeit source intended to be believed, would fall in the category of spoofing, a crime punishable with up to three years punishment and five hundred thousand rupee fine or both. The bill states that anyone who coerces or intimidates or harasses any person using information system, internet, website, electronic email or any other similar communication shall be liable to one year jail term or Rs1 million fines. If the victim is a minor, the jail term shall be extended to five years, or the fine shall be increased to Rs10million, or both..The bill states that Federal Government shall designate the Federal Investigation Agency or any other law enforcement agency as the special investigation agency for the purposes of investigation and prosecution of offences under this Act. No person whether a police officer, investigation officer or otherwise, other than an authorised officer of the special investigation agency shall investigate an offence under this Act. The bill grants powers to investigation officer to enter or search any specified place and secure data, without getting warrants from court, if he thinks that data could be destructed or lost, if he obtains warrants. However, the law binds investigation officer to bring the seizure to the notice of court within twenty-four hours.

  According to the bill, the government will establish a forensic laboratory independent of investigation agency to provide expert opinion before the court or for benefit of the investigation agency. According  to bill, Federal Government may cooperate  with any foreign Government, 24 /7 network, any foreign agency or any international  organization or agency for the purposes of investigations or proceedings concerning offences related to information systems, electronic communication or data or for the collection of evidence in  electronic form of an offence or obtaining expeditious preservation and disclosure of data by means  of an information system or real-time collection of  traffic data associated with specified communications or  interception of data under this Act.

Punishments under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, 2015

  • Up to five year imprisonment, PKR 10 million fine or both for hate speech, or trying to create disputes and spread hatred on the basis of religion or sectarianism.
  • Up to five year imprisonment, PKR 5 million fine or both for transferring or copying of sensitive basic information.
  • Up to PKR 50 thousand fine for sending messages irritating to others or for marketing purposes. If the crime is repeated, the punishment would be three months imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 1 million rupees.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 0.5 million for creating a website for negative purposes.
  • Up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to PKR 1 million for forcing an individual for immoral activity, or publishing an individual’s picture without consent, sending obscene messages or unnecessary cyber interference.
  • Up to seven year imprisonment, a fine of PKR 10 million or both for interfering in sensitive data information systems.
  • Three month imprisonment or a PKR 50 thousand fine or both for accessing unauthorised data.
  • Three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 5 million for obtaining information about an individual’s identification, selling the information or retaining it with self.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 0.5 million for issuing a sim card in an unauthorised manner.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and fine of up to PKR 1 million rupees for making changes in a wireless set or a cell phone.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 1 million for spreading misinformation about an individual.

Friday, 1 April 2016


Pakistan’s government believes that security and peace are essential for sustainable development in the economic, political, social and cultural spheres of the national life which entails protecting the lives and rights of the citizens, resources, territorial integrity of the country, state institutions and sovereignty of the state.  The existential threat posed by terrorism and extremism which went unchecked for well over a decade severely hampered the successive governments’ efforts to check the menace and erase its ill-effects on the economy and other areas of national life.  The scourge of terrorism has not only inflicted incalculable harm on Pakistan internally but it had also tarnished the image of the country at the global level. Terrorism is a global problem, and Pakistan as a country and as a nation in particular has been suffering from it for the past few years. No country had suffered so much from it as Pakistan. “We have lost more than 60,000 innocent lives. Our country has been faced with the threat of militancy and extremism. Our forces and police and civilians have been attacked and martyred.  Our bases, police stations, pipelines, railways, hotels, schools, have been targeted.  Even our mosques, churches and religious shrines have not been spared.  Our country’s image has been negatively projected. Our economy has had to bear extra burdens. Even the good name of our great religion -- a religion of peace and harmony and love -- has been exploited.
The international war against terrorism has caused more agony, deaths and destruction to the people of Pakistan than any other country in the world.  Government therefore accorded top priority to dealing with this phenomenon. Immediately after assuming office, Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, called an All Party Conference to evolve a national consensus through the collective wisdom of all the major political parties and stakeholders on the strategies and policies purported to restore peace and stability in the country.
The government enunciated the country’s first ever National Internal Security Policy and in line with the strategy approved by the APC, initiated a process of dialogue with the militants with a view to finding a peaceful settlement, keeping the option of use of force open as a last resort.  Unfortunately the process of dialogue failed to achieve the desired results due to the inexplicably defiant conduct of militants who continued to attack the security and other installations of the state, forcing the government to launch operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan in June 2014 in the wake of terrorist attack on Karachi airport, with the consensus of all the political entities.
Terrorism revisited the provincial capital after a year as a suicide bomber blew himself up in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, killing at least 72 people, including women and children, and injuring more than 300 others. The Present act of Terrorism in Lahore has caused widespread condemnation and resentments among the people of Pakistan. President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed profound grief and sorrow over the martyrdom and reaffirmed the commitment and resolve of the Government to exterminate menace of terrorism in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that terrorists had targeted his sons, daughters, brothers and sisters in Lahore and they would be brought to justice. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also chaired a meeting at the PM House at late night where he was briefed by his security advisers on the Lahore attack. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz reviews the security situation following the terrorist attack in Lahore. Prime Minister cancelled his trip to United Kingdom after holding detailed deliberations at a high-level meeting. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Lahore on March 28, 2016 morning and chaired a high level meeting a day after a suicide bomber killed over 72 people including women and children at a park. Prime Minister also visited the Jinnah Hospital to inquire about the health of those injured in the deadly blast.

Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif has ordered an immediate security operation in areas that border Punjab to counter possible threats after Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park suicide blast.  After the implementation of NAP and Military operation terrorists were committing cowardly acts after suffering defeat. This is time for unity and the nation had to rise above differences to combat terrorism. The days of terrorists were numbered in Pakistan and they would be dealt with an iron hand. The Lahore atrocity has changed Pakistan; we need to eradicate the mindset of terrorism to defeat extremism and sectarianism. This horrendous attack has shaken the nation, the terrorists struck the future of this country when they murdered the innocent children and women, and a strong action is needed to root out the menace of extremism from society.

FIKRI Zarb-e-Azb( فکری ضرب عذب )

Pakistan has been seriously affected by terrorism. The start of military operations in North Waziristan in June 2014 was a watershed that gave hope that we were beginning to seriously grapple with the menace of terrorism; Operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ has achieved excellent results. The second watershed in counter-terrorism was the adoption of the National Action Plan, which displayed the clear resolve of the political Leadership and the security forces, after the devastating terrorist attack by the TTP on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014. After the implementation of NAP and Military operation terrorists were committing cowardly acts after suffering defeat. This is time for unity and the nation had to rise above differences to combat terrorism.
Besides fighting militancy, we need to discourage culture of intolerance and extremism. To completely root out terrorism we will need to add other arrows to our quiver besides kinetic punch. Fikri Zarb-e-Azb is essential to defeat extremist thinking. This is necessary in order to defeat the terrorists in their ideological capacity to mobilise support, recruit and then indoctrinate young malleable minds to put on suicide belts. In this regard media, intellectual, analysts and civil society should contribute to confronting the extremist mindset. The way out of the current impasse is to promote culture of tolerance and moderation. Counter-narratives are created to fight the war of ideas with the aim being to win hearts and minds of the population.

The terrorism can best be tackled by undertaking some critical measures that may include: addressing the root causes and sources of terrorism.; highlighting the importance of civil society and public support for counter-terrorism.; critical role of media in fighting terrorists’ ideology; creating Sectarian and ethnic harmony by involving religious scholars and community leaders;. stressing the importance of reforming education system including registration and regulation of Madrasa.; highlighting that terrorism is being used as policy tool by various powers to damage the image of Islam and to create instability in Pakistan; and creating awareness among the masses about the funding of terrorism and that people should be careful while giving donations to charities linked with terrorist organizations. Counter-terrorism is not effective without corresponding counter-radicalisation efforts.  People need to fix their intellectual base in order to deal with the extremist tendency that recently targeted Information Minister and Junaid Jamshaid. In the present era Muslims have forgotten the rules of religion but the world has adopted them. We need to promote Islamic Culture of peace and harmony in the society in which people of all religions, faiths and races were equal citizen of the Islamic state.  As said by Founder of Pakistan on his 11 August 1947 address. “Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” He also said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.