ISLAMABAD: A man accused of hacking into his alleged ex-girlfriend’s Facebook account was denied bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had registered a case against Mohammad Munir of Peshawar in March of this year, under sections 36 and 37 of the Electronic Transaction Ordinance, 2002 for unauthorised interception of someone’s communication; section 420 of the Pakistan Penal Code for cheating and section 30 of the Nadra Act for stealing someone’s identity.

According to the FIR a girl, ‘SA’ from Haripur, had lodged a complaint with the FIA about an “anonymous person who had made a fake Facebook account under her name and had uploaded her pictures on it without her consent”.

With help from Facebook and Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited, the FIA’s investigations led to Munir who was operating the account at the District Coordination Office in Haripur. Munir was caught ‘red-handed’ by the FIA when he was logged in on the Facebook account.

In his defence, the accused had maintained that “except the bare allegations in the FIR, no independent, ocular or circumstantial evidence is available on record to connect the accused with the offence”.

During proceedings, the counsel for Munir, barrister Masroor Shah, had argued that the complainant was Munir’s ex-girlfriend and that she had only filed the complaint after they broke up. The counsel also produced photographs of them together, which he got from Facebook. He also annexed record of ‘chats’ between the accused and the complainant.

The SC bench, headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, advised the lawyer not to make such claims because, he said, this is not a Western society where such relationships were acceptable.

After hearing arguments, the bench directed the FIA to complete their investigations and submit a report before the trial court.

The misuse of social media, especially Facebook, is on the rise and cases of ‘intrusions’ into someone’s personal life have also now been reported to the Supreme Court.

Last year, a man was accused for uploading compromising pictures of his former fiancée. The accused had been engaged to the girl for four years when he uploaded the pictures from her account.

The engagement was then annulled and the girl filed a complaint with the FIA that her fiancée had hacked into her account and had uploaded the pictures.

The misuse is not just limited to exploiting girls. Hackers and ‘troublemakers’ have even made fake accounts of top army generals, including the Chief of Army Staff and the Director General Inter Service Intelligence.

In some instances, criminals have used the social networking site for minting money from naive people.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2015

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