PM forms body to hold consultations on Peca 2016 amendments

Committee will review Peca 2016, ensure consensus on amendments and submit recommendations within 15 days

Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Muhammad Anis
A representational image of a person using X on their smartphone. — Unsplash
  • Body to review Peca 2016, ensure consensus on amendments.
  • Headed by Rana Sanaullah panel also includes federal ministers.
  • Senator Sherry Rehman, Khalid Magsi also part of committee.

ISLAMABAD: To conduct consultations on the proposed amendments for the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Acts (Peca) 2016, the federal government has notified an eight-member special committee, The News reported on Tuesday.

According to a notification issued by the Prime Minister's Office, the special committee will be responsible for reviewing Peca 2016 and ensure political consensus on the proposed amendments in the Act by holding consultations with all stakeholders.

The committee will also make recommendations regarding the amendments, provide support for the Secretariat of the Ministry of Information Technology, and submit its recommendations to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif within 15 days.

According to the publication, the committee will be led by Adviser to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Rana Sanaullah and comprise Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, Information and Broadcasting Minister Attaullah Tarar, Education Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Information Technology Minister Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Senator Sherry Rehman, Nawabzada Khalid Magsi, and Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan.

During its meeting on May 14, the cabinet okayed devising a special committee for consultations regarding the amendments being proposed for Peca 2016.

Last week, The News learnt from government sources that a special cabinet committee invited media houses and other stakeholders for consultation on the proposed amendment bill and establishment of the Digital Rights Protection Authority.

This issue came up in the last meeting of the federal cabinet during which review of the said amendment was stressed to ensure consensus before it was presented in the Parliament.

According to sources, the purpose of establishing the Social Media Regulatory Authority was to advise the government on matters related to digital rights, responsible use of the Internet and ensuring compliance with regulations.

With its plans regarding the amendments, the government aims to protect the privacy of private lives of citizens from threats posed by social media.

Earlier this month, sources told Geo News that PM Shehbaz had approved a draft to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, as part of the federal government's decision to regulate social media through legislation.

The proposed amendment bill was recommended by the cabinet's Legal Reforms Committee, which suggested the establishment of the Digital Rights Protection Authority, which will fall under the Ministry of Information Technology's jurisdiction, they added.