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Technology companies want to withdraw controversial online laws

KARACHI: The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) has submitted its proposals to the government a day after the government formally started stakeholder consultation on the Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Act, 2002.

Reputable and large AIC Internet companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, Booking.com, Expedia Group, Grab, LinkedIn, Line, Rocketin and Yahoo (Oath). Is a joint group.

In May this year, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) released a survey on its website to solicit feedback from the public and stakeholders to improve suspended laws.

The government held a consultative meeting with media representatives and members of human rights organizations on June 4, at which several groups boycotted and demanded the repeal of controversial laws.

In a 15-page proposal from AIC to PTI, the agency was advised to proceed with the consultation process in the light of the preliminary questionnaire on the disputed law.

The PTA also confirmed that it had received the AIC’s recommendations and was currently reviewing them.

The PTA says the advisory committee will also include technology companies in the consultation in the coming days and their valuable views will be included in the proposals, as the advisory committee believes in broad consultation.

READ ALSO: Government launches consultation on controversial online laws
In its report, the AIC praised the PTA and said that the move by the federal government was commendable in which it had repeatedly said that controversial laws were suspended.

The same report said that since the controversial laws were passed by the federal cabinet, they should be returned in the same manner so that new consultations with many stakeholders could be easily initiated.

In the meeting of the advisory committee, PTA chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa made it clear that the said laws were not implemented in practice and they were also removed from the website of the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) as they were not implemented. Was not approved for import.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shirin Mazari, who is also a member of the advisory committee, said no one was saying that suspended laws were being discussed.

“We have asked all digital rights groups and stakeholders to submit suggestions and blueprints to the table. Appropriate suggestions will be followed by them and the proposals will be agreed to some extent,” he told Dawn. ۔

Read more: Asian organization’s letter to PM Imran Khan, warning on social media rules
Barrister Ali Zafar, a member of the committee, said the new proposals formed after the advisory committee would be approved by the federal cabinet.

In this regard, the AIC advised the PTI to try not to make laws in this regard which are similar to its own laws.

The organization pointed out that the PTA outlined the preliminary rules on its website, citing Section 37 (2) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA PKA) 2016.

In this regard, legislation was required under Section 37 (1), which provides for the blocking or blocking of any content in certain circumstances.

The AIC’s recommendations also state that the creation of a completely new authority, called the National Coordinator, would go beyond the powers given in PICA 2016.

The organization also published a comprehensive survey in this regard and suggested to digital firms, PTAs and the government to work extensively for consultation. The survey also included a demonstration draft of the proposed laws. That the proposed laws of the government were also outlined.

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