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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication

Event Date: 2019-11-25

Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication in its meeting on Monday while discussing the issue of withdrawal of custom duty exemption on one imported phone per calendar year under personal baggage rules observed that the withdrawal is affecting the middle and lower class and voted by majority to allow import of one mobile in personal baggage and recommended the same to the FBR to reconsider the decision.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Rubina Khalid here at the Parliament House on Monday and was attended among others by Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Shehzad Waseem, Faisal Javed Khan, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Abdur Rehman Malik, Sana Jamali, Fida Muhammad, Hasil Bizenjo, Chairman FBR, Secretary IT&T, SSP Rawalpindi, Director Cyber Crimes FIA and other officials. The Committee was of the view that well off people can afford any price of phones and taxes levied on them but the arger part of population who is using phones for multiple purposes cannot afford it.

The Committee also discussed the matter of filming and uploading videos of child abuse on dark-web with reference to a recent case reported from Rawat, Rawalpindi and was given a briefing by the Rawalpindi Police. The committee was told by SSP Muhammad Faisal that the convicted paedophile Sohail Ayaz is a 46 years old chartered accountant who has previously worked and travelled in 9 countries and has also been tried and convicted in United Kingdom and Italy. One case against him was registered by Punjab Police on 12th November and two on 14th November. The Committee was told that he targeted children from ages 8-15 and he has admitted having wronged 30 children. He said that after the news reports were run on media, more complainants came up to register their cases against him. The Committee was told that the police department is working on the case meticulously so that no lacuna is left for acquittal. The Committee appreciated the swift investigation of the police but at the same time expressed surprise as to how this man went away with everything despite getting deported to Pakistan twice. The Committee directed the concerned authorities to work to obtain if any travel advice accompanied his travel history when he was deported. The Committee also expressed surprise at how this person was employed twice by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and sought information as to on whose recommendation was it done.

The Committee expressed concern as to why use of dark web was termed to be non-existent a few months back when asked by the committee and now clear evidence has been obtained that dark web and production and uploading of pornographic content was being done in all these cases reported in Pakistan. The Committee also called for a proactive role by FIA in this investigation.

The Committee also recommended expediting work on signing of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for cyber-crimes so that in all such cases Pakistan is not denied of information from other countries.