Cybercrime is on the rise in Pakistan and the general population does not have much awareness or knowledge about it yet. People hardly know that they or the people around them (family, friends, or loved ones) are the victims of this crime let alone know what to do to deal with this type of crime. Thus, it is crucial to build a foundational basis on the basic understanding of cybercrime and the laws governing cybercrime in Pakistan. Once understood properly, we’ll move to how you can file a complaint if a cybercrime has been committed against you and how a lawyer in Pakistan can help if that may be the case.
What is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is a criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network, or a networked device. It is essentially an activity commissioned via a computer, digital devices, and networks used in the cyber realm, and is facilitated through the internet medium. It can include the distant theft of information belonging to an individual, government, or corporate sector through criminal trespassing into unauthorized remote systems around the world. Examples of commonly committed cybercrimes include stealing millions of rupees from online banks, phishing attacks on private persons, corporate data theft, stealing private information and using such information to blackmail, causing emotional and physical distress, and more.
The number of cybercrime cases in Pakistan has been increasing with time and the lack of resources at the National Response Center for Cyber Crime(NR3C) is making it difficult to limit them. Moreover, during the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, internet usage was at a substantial rise and unfortunately, a notable spike in cyber crimes had been observed during the pandemic.
Cybercrime Laws in Pakistan
The government of Pakistan introduced the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 to fend off cybercrimes and help the victim attain the justice they deserve. All the things that fall in the cybercrime law and are punishable with jail time and/or fine are stated below:
- Posting of someone’s images without their consent
- Creation of a fake social media ID impersonating someone else
- Data Tampering
- Defaming someone on the internet
- Fund transfer fraud
- Unauthorized Access, Copying, or Transmission of Information or Data
- Unauthorized Access to Critical Infrastructure Information Systems or Data
- Spreading racial or ethnic hatred
- Unethically hacking into websites, databases, Email IDs, social media accounts
Human Rights Issues With Cybercrime Laws in Pakistan
While the ordinance of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 201 (PECA) was a welcome addition to the criminal justice system, as it expanded and brought a missing form of crime under the jurisdiction. Unfortunately, PECA has been widely criticized by international human rights organizations due to its implementation of restricting freedom of expression and stifling dissent.
An amendment made to PECA in 2022, criminalized the defamation of government bodies and military institutions in Pakistan, making it a non-bailable offence, and increasing the prison term, if convicted, from three to five years. Human rights groups believe that the amendment essentially permits authorities to digitally police what people are saying online and levy heavy punishments if they do not like what they are saying.
How to Report a Complaint Against Cybercrime?
If you or someone you know are the victims of any of the above, there are a number of methods you can follow to report the occurrence of cybercrime in Pakistan. They are as follows:
- Click here to go to the NRC3 website where you can register complaints against cybercrime by filling and submitting the application online.
- You can also report the crime through email. Jot down an application with all relevant information along with your complete credentials (Name, Address, CNIC, and Contact No.) and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Another option to register the complaint is by mailing the hard copy of your application to this address:
- Director NR3C-FIA, National Police Foundation Building, 2nd Floor, Mauve Area, G-10/4, Islamabad. Do mention all the details of the incident along with your personal information.
- Or you can simply visit any of the regional NRC3 offices in your city and file the complaint in person.
How a Cyber Crime Lawyer Can Help?
When you are filing a complaint against cybercrime, it needs to be thorough and have all the possible details that can be included in the application. An experienced and skilled cybercrime lawyer can help you in drafting the application, guide you with the complete process, and handle the case once the complaint is registered.
At Sardar and Co, we have an expert team of attorneys, well-versed in the realm of cybercrime. With the difficult number of technicalities and software jargon required to thoroughly extract all the evidence required to build a solid case, the right representation for your case can ensure you know exactly which information to include in your report and ensure you obtain justice for the crime you faced.