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Senate committee to summon PTA, IT ministry, cybercrime officials over internet outages: Mohsin Aziz – Pakistan | #cybercrime | #computerhacker


PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz on Friday said the Senate Standing Committee on Interior has decided to summon officials of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), information technology ministry and cybercrime-related matters over the recent internet outages in the country.

In the past month, three such nationwide disruptions have occurred — on December 17, January 7 and Jan 20. They coincided with PTI’s virtual events on social media platforms. The party recently approached the Supreme Court and urged it to take notice of the suspension of internet services and blockage of social media websites.

During a press conference earlier this week, caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi had attributed the outages to “technical” issues and system installations. He also said that there was “no guarantee” such incidents won’t occur in the future.

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the federal government and the PTA to ensure uninterrupted internet access till the February 8 general elections.

Senator Aziz presided over the standing committee session today in which the issues came under discussion.

Talking to Dawn.com after the meeting, he said: “The issue of outages and outages of internet service across the country should be addressed. Because elections should be given a free hand to make them credible. Elections should be made credible. Foreign observers will also come and see small things.

“Decision has been made to summon PTA, IT and cybercrime officials. These authorities will be asked when the internet was shut down and when rallies were held. These authorities will be asked whether they deliberately shut down the internet during PTI rallies.”

The senator added the officials would be questioned if it was all coincidence, the PTI’s bad luck or if was it all deliberately done.

Separately, an amendment to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 was also proposed by Senator Samina Mumtaz Zehri to increase the sentences and fines of those involved in child pornography.

The proposed amendment suggested that the sentences of the crime’s perpetrators be increased to 10 years from seven and the fine on them be raised to Rs10 million from Rs5m.

The Senate committee also called up the PTA, IT and cybercrime officials on the matter to come and present their opinion.

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