I am writing to you to inform you about my concerns as a citizen of Pakistan about the proposed Cybercrime Bill (PECB 2015). This bill was passed secretly yesterday in an NA Committee on IT and will now be brought to the floor of the Assembly for Parliamentarians to vote on tomorrow (April 18, 2015).
The Bill is a 2015 version that takes a previous version from 2014 and inserts clauses that are vague, technically and legally unsound. The Minister for IT Anusha Rehman has claimed that all is well with this bill, and that under NAP they are fully justified in their actions, but digital rights groups, the Pakistan Association of Software Houses, and other civil rights groups have objected on many grounds. Furthermore, the Islamabad High Court ruled earlier this year that the government does not have legal grounds to block or censor the Internet.
The insertions to the bill impinge on freedom of expression of citizens, but they will also ensure that no foreign investment in our IT sector will take place.
Please see the Dawn editorial on the Cybercrime Bill: Cybercrime bill controversy
And also the Express Tribune’s report: NA committee approves controversial Cyber Crime Bill
We the citizens of Pakistan implore on our Parliamentarians to familiarize themselves with this controversy and ask for proper debate and transparency about the Bill. The MoIT along with other government agencies are not being transparent about which version they are passing, and are unwilling to listen to anyone’s concerns, dismissing them as unimportant. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work!
Again, I thank you very much for your time and consideration.
With very best wishes,
Please copy the text and send to your Parliamentarian or other government representative to help raise awareness about the bill before it goes to the floor of the National Assembly for voting tomorrow (18-April, 2015).