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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Friday, directed the Cyber Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a report about its SOPs to issue call-up notices to people under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions, while hearing a case against the illegal use of its powers by the FIA on the complaints filed against cybercrimes.

During the hearing, the additional attorney general (AAG) informed the court that the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing received 22,970 complaints under Section 20 of the PECA.

He further told that the wing also received complaints against 30 journalists under this section of the PECA.

The IHC chief justice said why there is the impression that the FIA is taking action selectively on these complaints.

He also said it is also being witnessed that the FIA took prompt action on the complaints of the members of the ruling party, adding the FIA did not take action on the complaints of common people.

The AAG informed the court that the FIA has made its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to issue notices in these matters.

He further said that this impression should also vanish that the FIA is only taking action against the journalists.

The IHC bench said that the FIA issued the notice to a journalist and it affected other journalists as well, as the journalist was asked to tell the source of his news.

“It does not happen in civilised societies,” remarked the IHC chief justice.

Justice Minallah said the rulers should not be afraid of criticism because there would be no accountability without criticism.

Regarding the flood in Sector E-11 of Islamabad, the chief justice remarked that such things would happen if they destroy the environment. He said that a citizen highlighted the issue of environment but the FIA started to harass that person.

Later, he directed the AAG to submit a detailed report regarding the SOP of the FIA about the issuance of notices on the complaints of cybercrimes, and deferred the proceedings till August 8.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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