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Islamabad police empowered to probe cybercrimes | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Lawyers term govt move illegal and violation of PECA


In a move fraught with legal controversy, the federal government has empowered the police to register cybercrime cases under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, aimed at tackling the rising tide of cybercrime.

The government has initially designated 27 police stations, including one in Islamabad, to deal with cybercrime cases under PECA. However, this decision has drawn sharp criticism from legal experts, who deem it “illegal” and a violation of provisions of PECA.

From now on, beside the the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Islamabad police will also investigate cybercrime cases. In the federal capital, Pakistan’s first cybercrime investigation unit at the police level at F-6 Police Service Centre will be fully functional from January 15.

For this purpose, the first phase of departmental efficiency training of 60 officers of Islamabad police has been completed with the support of FIA. The officers of Cybercrime Investigation Unit (CIU) will perform duties under CPO Safe City and in the supervision of SSP Safe City.

A police spokesperson told The Express Tribune that the Islamabad police would register cybercrime cases under Section 30 after the amendment to PECA. However, application for registration of cybercrime cases could be made at any police station.

Read also: New cybercrime agency on the cards

However, this move drew immediate flak from senior lawyers and police officials. Riyasat Ali Azad, former president of the Islamabad Bar Association, termed the move “totally illegal” and a violation of the existing law.

Azad pointed out that PECA vested exclusive jurisdiction for cybercrime investigation and prosecution with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He warned that cases registered by the police under PECA would likely face legal challenges and eventual dismissal by the Islamabad High Court.

Additionally, he expressed concern that empowering the already overburdened police force with cybercrime investigations would further hamper their overall performance.

Echoing these concerns, a senior federal police officer, while speaking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, said the additional workload of cybercrime cases would further hinder police effectiveness.


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