Cyber crimes on the increase in Punjab

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Amraiz Khan

Lahore

Provincial Capital topped in cyber crime by registering 3442 out of 11000 cases across the country during the year 2019, FIA Cyber Crime Circle Lahore also received 8000 fresh applications in January.
FIA investigators themselves agree that a single cybercrime police station manned by less than seven Inquiry Officers (IO) for the city of around 15 million populations is woefully insufficient.
An officer seeking anonymity said, ‘we received around 8000 applications of cyber crimes only in month of January 2020 this year, how can we deal with such huge number of application with meager resources and manpower’.
We have only seven investigators and if we divide these applications, every IO will have to deal with more than 1000 applications in a month which is not humanly possible, he maintained. Apart from these meager resources Facebook headquarter is also not providing required information to the FIA Cyber Crime Circle since Pakistan government has not signed any Mutual Assistance Treaty (MAT) with government of USA.
Zain Ali Qureshi, Cyber laws expert and advocate is of the view that reason behind the extraordinary climb in cyber crimes in Lahore is presence of educational and health institutions here. Due to which youngsters rush to this city from far flung areas of the country sometime for education and sometime for employment.
These young male and female are soft target of the fraudsters and cheaters who lure these youngsters with lucrative jobs and sometimes with lottery prizes. These youngsters who are new in the provincial capital city fall prey to these fraudsters easily.
Mr Qureshi further claimed that mobile phone is a major source of cyber crime through which young male and female exchange objectionable pictures after being developed understanding and ultimately either side of them blackmail the other on different grounds. Sometimes a female gets involved in some other male and refuses to meet the male she had understanding with him earlier.
On which he reacts and starts blackmailing her by sending her objectionable pictures to her family members and to other quarters concerned. Then a rift starts between both parties and aggrieved one approach to FIA Cyber crime Circle for remedy of its grievances. Same situation is in Bengaluru a city of the neighboring country India where Bengluru has been declared as Capital of the cyber crime since Bengaluru registered the highest number of cyber crime cases in 2017, up from being third in 2016.
A senior police officer who was in a position fighting cyber crimes in 2017 said the higher numbers could be attributed to ‘better awareness and reporting’.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed only a few days back urged the government to introduce strict cyber laws in the country.
He said that there was a general impression that cyber crimes take place only on Facebook and Whatsapp. The CJP termed this perception wrong and said that the institutions concerned in Pakistan should not treat the cyber crimes as ordinary ones but take those seriously so as to provide necessary help to the victims.
On the other hand Cyber laws were introduced in 2016 whereas the world had started working on it very earlier. Secondly Cyber laws in Pakistan are toothless and only three clauses in this entire law are non-bailable including section 10, 21 and 22.
All other clauses are bailable, it is worth mentioning here that section 10 deals with cyber terrorism, spreading panic and fear among the public at large through social media. Section 21 is applied on the accused involved in transmission and production of objectionable material and pictures. Section 22 deals with Child pornography.