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Pakistan: Electronic Crimes Prevention

(Mar. 6, 2009) Pakistan's Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, No. 9 of 2008, became effective on September 29, 2008. The objective of the Ordinance is to prevent any action directed against the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic systems, networks, and data as well as the misuse of such systems. It provides punishments for such actions and also mechanisms for the investigation and prosecution of offenders. The Ordinance applies to any person who commits an offense under its provisions, regardless of citizenship or location inside or outside Pakistan.

Gaining of unauthorized access to an electronic system and gaining of unauthorized access to electronic data are criminal offenses under the Ordinance, punishable by imprisonment, a fine, or both. Other offenses include misuse of encryption, distribution of malicious code, cyber stalking, spamming, spoofing, unauthorized interception, and cyber terrorism. All such offenses are punishable by various terms of imprisonment, with a fine, or with both imprisonment and a fine. Enhanced punishment is prescribed for any person who gains criminal access to a sensitive electronic system. Aiding, abetting, or attempting to aid or abet the commission of unlawful acts set forth under the Ordinance are also offenses.

The Ordinance also stipulates that a special investigative office in the Federal Investigation Agency is to be established for the prosecution of offenses against its provisions. (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2009THE GAZETTE OF PAKISTAN, EXTRAORDINARY 453-472 (Nov. 5, 2008).)