Interior ministry approves cyber unit to curb child pornography

  • The cyber unit run by FIA will be equipped with latest technology 

ISLAMABAD: Following an increase in child abuse and pornography cases in the country, the government has come up with a new idea to put an end to the menace as the interior ministry gave an approval to the formation of the Cyber Patrolling Unit (CPU), run by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The recent spate of child sexual abuse cases, especially Kasur incident, has shaken the country thus forcing the government to take practical steps.

A senior official of the government said that the interior ministry on Thursday approved a PC-1 of the CPU with an estimated cost of 59 million rupees.

“The basic objective of the unit is to curb the menace of paedophilia and the unit will lead a dedicated team of the FIA personnel that will be equipped with the latest software,” elaborated the official.

The official said that a 40-member team will be placed in the unit which will have one director-level official, who will be independent to investigate the matter and the unit will be integrated with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

According to the official, the cyber unit will be engaged in online patrolling with the help of the latest technology. The FIA will also entertain complaints, particularly related to sexual abuse cases. Similarly, all zone of the FIA will be interlinked to trace out the online data.

Sharing further details, the official said that the unit will be empowered to inspect and arrest the “rackets involved in child trafficking”. It would help stopping trans-national high-tech crimes and other illegal activities in order to secure cyber boundaries of Pakistan, said the official, privy to the development.

“The official will be empowered under section Sec 35 and 37 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act PECA 2016,” said the official.

It is noted that the act was passed last year by the National Assembly and under the act, many powers were given to the FIA to regulate the cyberspace of the country. According to the act, “A child pornographer shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to seven years or with a fine of up to Rs5 million or with both.”

It is noted that in the wake of FIA’s investigations into the prolific presence of Pakistan’s proscribed terrorist organisations in cyberspace, it was revealed that a systematic approach is needed to identify the illegal content on the internet and take legal action. Therefore, the FIA and interior ministry are all set to establish the CPU.