Court hands 8 year sentence to a man from Peshawar over charges of online harassment and blackmailing
A man named Ahsan Sheraz from Peshawar has been handed eight years of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 50,000 for harassing and blackmailing a woman on Facebook.
The ruling came on Wednesday from a session court in Peshawar. The court found the man guilty of harassing a woman by uploading her and her family’s pictures on a Facebook account. The woman’s father, Syed Mehboob registered a complaint against the man to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in 2017. The case was then investigated by FIA’s cyber-crime wing and found the man responsible for online-harassment under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), 2016. The man was subsequently taken into custody with his laptop and mobile confiscated and since then has been in jail after his bail application was rejected.
The recent ruling by the court means that the man will spend another 8 years in prison. The hearing was read by the Additional Sessions Judge Kulsoom Azam.
Cyber-crime has been frequently in the news in Pakistan in recent times. In March 2018, another woman, this time the wife of a Pakistani Air Force Officer, was a victim of cyber-harassment. Fortunately, the culprit was caught and sentenced by a court in Lahore for six years in prison along with a fine of 1 million which he had to pay to the victim as compensation for the legal fees and the mental stress that this whole incident caused her.
Earlier, we covered a report by the Digital Rights Foundation (a non-profit organization in Pakistan) which said that women in Pakistan were most prone to cyber-harassment on WhatsApp and Facebook. A breakdown of that report showed some shocking statistics about women being harassed online in Pakistan:
- 57% online harassment cases from Punjab
- 18% online harassment cases from Sindh
- 5% online harassment cases from KPK
- 5% online harassment cases from Islamabad
- 2% online harassment cases from Baluchistan
- 1% online harassment cases Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Federally Administered Tribal Areas
However, with the establishment of a cyber vigilance division by the PTA, it seems that the Pakistani government is now finally taking notice of the existence of this online menace. Let’s hope that with the new leadership, PTA will be able to implement a robust cyber-crime policy which will regulate and keep the online activities under check.