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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication

Event Date: 2019-12-09

Chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, Senator Rubina Khalid in its meeting on Monday took serious notice of the latest episode of child abuse involving an employee of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, Sohail Ayaz. She said that the policy of appeasement while dealing with such cases must be abolished completely.  The Committee was briefed by the National Response Centre for Cybercrimes (NR3C) and PTA on filming and uploading of videos on Darkweb.  Status of recommendations, made by the sub-Committee, on the payment of increase in pension to retired employees of PTCL by Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PIET) was also discussed. 

Chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid, the members present included Senator Abdul Rehman Malik, Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Faisal Javed, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar, Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Senator Dr. Shehzad Waseem and senior officers from Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, PTA, Punjab Police (Rawalpindi) and FIA. 

While detailing cases dealt by the agency, the Committee was informed that till-date it had received 14 cases.  Senator Rukhsana Zuberi took strong notice of this and said that this alone spoke volumes of the performance of the agency.  Praising the performance of the Punjab Police that played a phenomenal role in nabbing Sohail Ayaz, the accused of the latest reported case of child abuse, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi was of the view that working in silos will not help.  She emphasized information sharing amongst departments of the governments. 

Senator Kulsoom Parveen was of the view that for agencies to work to its full potential, it was imperative to empower them.  She asserted that all state machinery must join hands to strengthen NR3C. 

The Committee stressed the need for FIA to investigate, the hiring of Sohail Ayaz by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, despite being removed from service at an INGO.  It was asserted that both Punjab Police and FIA must get together and discuss technicalities of the case.  Plugging of lacunas in the law was stressed as well. 

Chairperson Committee, Senator Rubina Khalid along with all Committee members strongly resolved to take the culprits to task.  She said that since this is a matter of national importance, a JIT must be formed.  The Committee directed that all service providers be summoned in the next meeting and a strategy be formulated that is funded by them.  She added that FIA must contact Interpole to determine the quantum of uploads on Darkweb from Pakistan. 

Deliberating over the plight of retired PTCL employees, the Committee showed great displeasure on lack of progress and said that PTA was behaving in a biased manner, losing all credibility.  Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication requested the Committee time until the next meeting to sort out the matter. He said that he was given the impression that payments had already been made.