The proposed Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 that has met severe criticism from civil society and other stakeholders, has finally compelled the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication to hold public hearing on proposed Cyber Crime Bill next week.
The member of the committee and MNA MQM, Mr. Syed Ali Raza Abidi, informed the Press that the chairperson of standing committee, Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar has discussed with him about the decision of committee.
Sources in the MoITT and PTA also unofficially confirmed that this decision has been taken in the wake of massive criticism, from general public and IT experts over the bill. Members of civil society maintain that the Government has some political objectives behind the approval of this bill and it wants to throttle freedom of expression through the legislation. The Ministry is being accused by some to have failed to take the civil society and representative of ICT industry into confidence over the matter of the final cyber crime bill presented for approval to the national assembly.
Syed Ali Raza Abidi in his tweets said that:
I had invited the committee and its chairman to hold the public hearing in Karachi, since many people affiliated with the IT industry work there.”
Whereas, Capt Safdar excused himself, quoting personal reasons. And said that:
“The hearing will now be held in Islamabad. I will be flying to Islamabad to attend the meeting.”
Capt. Safdar’s office has also confirmed to the press that the hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday.
Abidi confirming through tweet said that the committee’s chairman had agreed to hold a public hearing on the proposed Cyber Crime Bill on Tuesday.
Mr. Syed Ali Raza Abidi also thanked the Ministry persons for their collaborative efforts in arranging the public hearing.
It is important to note that earlier, MoITT had also asked for public opinion on the Cyber Crime Bill through SMS and e-mail.