We have seen several cases of online bullying and social media harassment, threats and blackmailing in Pakistan. Pages like “XYZ College Confessions”, let people anonymously post all sorts of opinions and even comments directly hitting a particular student/colleague. Boys have been seen threatening girls who refuse their offer of friendship, blackmailing them using social media networks, especially Facebook. The hurtful material can vary from uploading pictures (even objectionable edited ones) without the subject’s permission to abusive private messages to spreading false but highly damaging rumors.
Recently the police arrested a university student belonging to UMT on the charges of publishing pictures of fellow female students online without their permission. In an official status update from UMT it was mentioned that the student in question had been expelled by the rector and that those who were aiding him were also wanted and may face similar consequences (although the post has been removed now). Abu Bakar Minhas, a student of Software Engineering was arrested by Police for invading privacy and carrying out indecent activities online. The convicted was allegedly running at least two non-official university pages on Facebook, where users were encouraged to make confessions and post pictures of UMT female students.
We think that this will set a good example against such students and would send a warning message all the others about cyber-bullying. So far there is no proper system for fighting cyber-crime in the country. Unfortunately, the cyber crime laws are still in the pipeline waiting for implementation in Pakistan. However, this action seem to be a beginning of something new. Everybody deserves the right to feel safe online and to be able to report any cases of bullying and harassment. Here’s to hoping that people would be held responsible for their actions online and that more culprits would be brought into prosecution.