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Respected Minister for Information Technology,

This might be a long letter but please bear with us as it is an important one, especially since the issue is so close to your heart — one you fought for two years.

Minister, you must have heard about Naila Rind, a student of University of Sindh in Jamshoro, who allegedly killed herself in her hostel. A top student in her Masters class, Naila, was found hanging from a ceiling fan inside room no. 36 in Marvi hostel. If you still are unaware of this unfortunate event, let us inform you what led her to take her own life.

We are sure you still remember how you burned the midnight oil for the passage of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA).

Also read: Cyber crime bill passed —13 reasons Pakistanis should be worried

The law was designed to protect the daughters of Pakistan. We hope you remember, since that’s what you said in one of the meetings while rejecting our criticism on the law.


According to the police, a lecturer in a private school at Jamshoro was blackmailing Naila with her pictures and videos for three months


The credit goes to you. The law was passed last year in August, five months ago, and it contained harsh but vague provisions for cyber stalking, harassment and blackmailing against a natural person.

Minister, it seems that your ministry has neglected to inform law enforcement authorities about their role and jurisdiction under the new law. A law which was enacted in the name of 'protecting daughters of Pakistan' couldn’t save the precious life of one daughter, namely Naila.

Naila was blackmailed

Let's get to the bottom of Naila's suicide.

According to the initial investigation and First Information Report (FIR) copy, it turns out Naila was cyber blackmailed by a man named Anis Khaskheli.

Police officials say this lecturer in a private school at Jamshoro, was blackmailing Naila with her pictures and videos for three months.

After the blackmailing became too much for her, Naila took her life.

This is exactly the kind of situation your law was intended to address, so why are all the law enforcement authorities, from the police to the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), so clueless about how to deal with the situation?

The ignorance of the authorities is on full display in the FIR by the police.

Minister, they have included section 9 and 13 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2009 against the accused.

Let us refresh your memory. This Ordinance was passed in the Musharraf era and is a law that you yourself were a vocal opponent of.

Minister, we think that you’ll find it quite interesting that this very Ordinance, mentioned in the FIR, has lapsed eight years ago.

Have a close look at the FIR.

This FIR is an indictment of the failures of the state. A reminder that awareness and education about online harassment and ethical use of information and communications technology should have been the first step before enacting legislation which is unable to address the issue at hand.

The responsibility of the Ministry does not, and should not, end with passing legislation. In the rush to pass a problematic law, the Ministry neglected to think through ground realities of online harassment and the difficulties in applying the law under the current system.

Read: Dawn Editorial on the Cybercrime Bill

By assigning the task of enforcing a law relating to cyber harassment, stalking and bullying to a highly centralised federal agency with regional offices confined to Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar, the Ministry is failing to reach women like Naila Rind.

Around the world, as you well know Minister, cyber harassment is within the domain of the police stations.

The Ministry has fundamentally misunderstood the extent and nature of the problem. When cases turn up in these areas, there is a lack of clarity about what to do.

The law is completely misunderstood by the local police.

As you must have realised by now, Naila was driven to end her life when she constantly threatened and intimidated.

There is no support system out there for women to seek help; no emotional guidance on how to deal with gender-based threats and cyber harassment.

As a society, why do we fail to to take seriously the psychological toll of online harassment?

It has been pointed out that Sindh University had made no psychiatrists available to the students. There was no place where a student like Naila could go to seek professional help for the psychological trauma she suffered as a result of persistent blackmailing and harassment.

Dear Minister, this suicide should weigh heavy on the conscience of the authorities and the state.

The state seems to be in a rush to pass perfunctory laws such as the PECA without thinking over the implementation or plan to educate law enforcement agencies and the judiciary on the law.

Who are we making these laws for?

If these laws fail to help girls like Naila, then what use are legislative enactments and the pats on the back?

We demand from you and your Ministry:

  • To make the Rules related to Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 public as soon as possible, and to hold public and inclusive consultations in drafting the Rules

  • To conduct gender sensitisation training of all relevant law enforcement authorities, including the Police and Cyber Crime Wing of FIA in the light of PECA

  • To equip the police and Cyber Crime Wing of FIA to deal with such complaints and make the redress mechanism speedy by investing more resources in the process (nearly half of the complaints we receive at Digital Rights Foundation’s Helpline require action by the FIA)

  • To appoint more women at the Cyber Crime Wing of FIA who are equipped to handle complaints of online harassment so women complainants are not subjected to victim blaming and slut shaming while they reach out to LEAs

  • To appoint women counselors or psychologists at the Cyber Crime Wing and police stations who can deal with the emotional trauma of victims/survivors of cyber harassment and blackmailing

Minister, in the meanwhile, till the state authorities figure out how to do their job and address this menace, please let victims of cyber harassment and blackmailing know that they can reach out to the Cyber Harassment Helpline at 0800-39393 .

Victims do not have to suffer in silence.

We are a small team but we are here to help, listen to and find solutions with you.

Sincerely,

Nighat Dad and Shmyla Khan

Cyber Harassment Helpline | Digital Rights Foundation


Are you a victim of cyber bullying or know someone who is suffering? Tell us about it at blog@dawn.com


Author Image

Nighat Dad is an Advocate of High Court and the Founder of Digital Rights Foundation.

Author Image

Shmyla Khan is a lawyer by training and the head of DRF's Cyber Harassment helpline​.


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments (77) Closed



Ahmed bin Babar Jan 07, 2017 02:49pm

If you have no way to go then why are you blaming the law..?!

pakistani Jan 07, 2017 02:49pm

sometimes it give me hope that there are still people out there in my beloved country who cares for humanity.....thanks to Nighat Dad and Shmyla Khan for riminding minister of some sense......

i hope there are no more naila rind out there looking for help , otherwise our present machinery will fail to hell them...

Nouman Jan 07, 2017 03:07pm

This law was meant only to protect the politicians from getting trolled.

usher Jan 07, 2017 03:13pm

Alas our leaders have limited IQ to distinguish between fuzzy and definite terms. A big picture is so big, they cant see.

Zulfiqar Jan 07, 2017 03:24pm

This Government is only concerned about CEPEC and Motorways and nothing else.

Omer Mallhi Jan 07, 2017 03:31pm

Please do translate this article in regional languages and involve regional media. It's unlikely that girls who need the most help also read Dawn. You are one of few who are brave enough to fight this evil.

Ashfaque Jan 07, 2017 03:34pm

No one cares how to deal such kind of criminal activities. the law isn't implement yet how could we expect justice

Cynic Jan 07, 2017 04:19pm

Cyber crimes are nothing compared to terrorism, do you want to know how police deals with them? Read balochistan commission report. Over 60 lawyers were killed and police was sitting on its bum till the commission told them to act. I have absolutely no expectations from our system.

Amina Jan 07, 2017 04:46pm

Hope it could work in past..but i think in a conservative society like Pak where it feels crime for women to upload there pics and videos this problem will always prevail..the thing which makes me confuse is that where did ge get her videos ?

Hasan Jan 07, 2017 04:52pm

Law has never come to rescue of common citizens in Pakistan. Correct me if I am wrong.

Haider Jan 07, 2017 05:03pm

How he got her pics and videos?

Amjad Jan 07, 2017 05:01pm

Wonderfully written!! Provincial Government is needed to take proactive steps to make sure institute like Sindh University & others should have appropriate system in place to deal with such complexities. Where student would have opportunity to seek information as well as help in addressing their issues related to harassment as and when required. Indeed there is no use of legislation if it fail to get benefit to the end users by any means. In addition to that lack of understanding of implementing bodies regarding such legislation also contribute in inappropriate enforcement of certain laws.

Ehsan Jan 07, 2017 05:03pm

It's a shame. may God bless the victim and may the culprit rot in hell. Severe punishment should be given to the culprit.

Pakistan's law only exist to serve the rich, elite and corrupt. The common man or woman has no rights in this country.

sad state of affairs...

Amjad Jan 07, 2017 05:16pm

@Hasan Situation varies...actually what I have understood so far, little efforts done at the end of legislators to create public awareness. In addition to that lack of appropriate enforcement of laws by concerned authorities are the contributing factors in creating chaotic situation for public.

Faruk Ahmed Jan 07, 2017 05:15pm

My Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I am deeply sorry for a big loss to the country, an highly educated daughter of Pakistan had to take her life. Just because of uneducated President, Prime Minister & Ministers we have The departments: Police, FIA, NAB, Justice all as filled with corrupt people. We require a revolution to remove these.

Amjad Jan 07, 2017 05:24pm

@Faruk Ahmed Before we go for revolution let's create public awareness regarding appropriate understanding of systems we have in place so far. We have legislation but no implementation, no information available to public, people who waste no time in violating such laws like "Anis Khaskheli" so called educated black sheep, always get relived because our system is so weak to put them in trial. So commitment both at law enforcement agencies and public are highly needed.

Zubaida Khan Jan 07, 2017 05:34pm

The question remains, did she seek help? There are anti rape laws all over the world but that does not stop rapists.

raja nadeem Jan 07, 2017 06:01pm

very nice mam.

Zubair Jan 07, 2017 06:11pm

Its amazing that no blame is given to the sindh government for neglecting to reform the university, law enforcement, culture, education regarding the problem in the community, or generally bad governance but a federal authority is held accountable for it all.

Zubair Jan 07, 2017 06:13pm

@Amjad the writers fail to mention the provincial government. Only blaming fedral. That makes no sense to me. Can more be done? Yes. But should we just abolish the provinces and let fedral authorities rule? Make up your mind before making a statement

Houlbelat Jan 07, 2017 06:21pm

Naila is an unfortunate ground reality that should be taken as the learning process through hardest way. Let us all take Naila's sacrifice to save all other would be nailas from such an end.

ahmed Jan 07, 2017 06:22pm

very good article , point-out good way . i hope government will take action, thanks for writing Dawn,,,

zulfiqar ahmed Jan 07, 2017 06:28pm

There are 13 types of cyber crimes, according to National Response Centre for Cyber Crime's website. Only 2 of those categories deal with bullying and stalking online without explaining them in details. The much emphasis on their website is on cyber fraud and crimes and is the wrong place for a person to contact for harassment and bullying. THE PUNJAB PROTECTION OF WOMEN AGAINST VIOLENCE ACT 2016 (Act XVI of 2016) also contains cyber harassment and bullying in details and the role of District Women Protection Committee. It all seems good and wonderful on paper. In a society like Pakistan, would any girl/woman is willing to walk to the police station to report an abuse or threat like Naila was facing? I don't think so. There must be another way (perhaps like DRF) for girls like Naila to report this with confidence and not to kill themselves.

Nighat dAD Jan 07, 2017 07:11pm

@zulfiqar ahmed Therefore we started a cyber harassment helpline 0800 39393 Please spread the word.

Khan USA Jan 07, 2017 07:32pm

We need to teach our children how to protect theirselves from predators ! Sharing private pictures and videos with strangers is extremely dangerous . This culprit had already played with the lives of another thirty girls and one died and we have no clue about why this has happened !

Vaqas Jan 07, 2017 08:06pm

In all that is said, I don't see anywhere whether the girl ever approached any authority for help. Did even her family know of the situation? The govt can make any law that you would like, but ultimately it would be useless unless the victim approaches the authority and seeks help. In the end I would like to say, suicide is never the solution to any problem. Now ultimately who suffers is the family of the girl.

Jalbani Baloch Jan 07, 2017 08:37pm

How can police or other law enforcing agencies get alert on the developing crime, especially the cyber crime, at their own, unless they get any information or complaint from the person being harassed. Even if there has been no cyber law in passed in Pakistan, the police could have acted on receiving complaint from the complainant. In this particular reported case, we must appreciate the Police, which unearthed the perpetrator within a few days, and at end, onus of not reporting the matter to her family or police, also lie on the deceased girl beyond any reasons.

H.A.Ghaffar Jan 07, 2017 09:04pm

Hats off to naghat & shmyla for their efforts and patronage against cyber harrassment.

Moid Jan 07, 2017 09:23pm

@Haider : You would not have asked the question if you understood the dynamics of human instincts and fundamental needs. Other than that, it is a display of indirect misogyny.

Shahryar Shirazi Jan 07, 2017 09:46pm

Mis governance in Sind is why Naila took her life. Police and landlords do not do their jobs.

Moid Jan 07, 2017 09:46pm

@Amina Emotional disintegration caused by manipulation and wilful exposure of private or personal affairs is universal.

Moid Jan 07, 2017 10:06pm

@Zubaida Khan Such misfortunes are more prominent in countries where law is kept dormant. To sin is human nature and to interrupt it from impacting others is the obligation of law.

Amjad Jan 07, 2017 11:02pm

@Zubair Federal authorities should be held accountable for just making legislation when it comes to its implementation hardly get serious consideration. Until & unless something happens. So far federal authorities found involved in investigating different cases related to cyber crime so again they have to carry the responsibility of failure.

ashar Jan 07, 2017 11:13pm

why not the girls are taught not to indulge in such type of activities in the first place. On one hand people advocate for an equally free environment for girls and then agitate on incidence like this.

Sorath Jan 07, 2017 11:56pm

I only wanna say tht plz stop any type of violence against women. I hope tht thr will b no any other Naila in future... Have u ever thought u blackmailers tht u r not only destroy a girl but along with her,her family is also destroyed. I really appreciate those who has reminded minister.. But it is msg fr all girls tht if u r facing such kind of disasters then kindly tell ur family as they cn help u out.. Hope that u guys will protect the daughters of Pakistan nd of all over the world..

Dr. M. Jaffar Jan 08, 2017 12:09am

What if law implemented does it holds the culprit? or will this refrain others from doing this crime? I think that incident echoed well for female gender when they go beyond in the intimacy.

Miqbal RANGOONWAL Jan 08, 2017 12:14am

We are committed corrupt

Mujtaba Jan 08, 2017 01:22am

Many people are asking how he got her pictures ? And why would someone kill herself because someone has there picture. He had objectionable pictures of her..and it were sent to him by the girl herself. Remember girls never send your pictures to your boyfriends .. He might not black mail you .. But he can loose his phone and your pictures may get leaked. If the guy was black mailing her then he should be punished. But if the girl killed herself because he was not marrying her.. Then the guy should be let free.. As no one can force anyone to marry them.

R.T.AHMED Jan 08, 2017 03:01am

Thankyou Nighat dad and Shmyla for becoming a very big support to all those females who are facing this . Instead of taking their lives they will approach you . Kindly spread you contact details every where in pakistan through different resourses.

Masoud Jan 08, 2017 08:40am

What a law or promise can do if the harassment matter remains unreported. In this case as well the girl out of fear of negative publicity and the resulting fallout on her and her family preferred to end her life than reporting the harassment to police. A very unfortunate event indeed. Instead of keeping the victim should report such cyber blackmailing instead of ending life.

gull khan Jan 08, 2017 08:46am

Dears in Pakistan rules are make to protect higher onse.This cyber crime bill drama is arranged to protect politicians on social media .Thay have no interest in common people protection , weather thay are sons or daughters.we are the product of colonial era.every rule must be made in the intrest and favor of masters.

K A Khan Jan 08, 2017 10:22am

Loads has been written on the Cyber law and Govt./authorities reaction, but no one seems to be interested in the initial action and/or its prevention. It is indeed very sad and unfortunate that this incident happened with this lady, but how these photos/videos were possible and what level of relationship the victim had with the accused. There are many aspects to assessed int his, especially how such things can be avoided by increasing the awareness of our sisters and daughters. We cant just simply blame laws and authorities if we dont make any attempts to avoid such relationships with strangers.

Vague Buster Jan 08, 2017 10:28am

why not rectify naila type behavior among ladies in the first place?

Adeeb Jan 08, 2017 11:15am

This law is to protect the interest of the sitting government only not for the common man.

Dr Jamil Ahmed Jan 08, 2017 12:19pm

Any suicide note?

Waheed bALOCH Jan 08, 2017 01:43pm

In Pakistan we have no law to save the common citizen.

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Jan 08, 2017 02:41pm

Very sad and tragic story. However, it could have happened in any country of the world.

No matter how stringent are the cyber-security laws in a country, committing suicide by an individual in essence is a psychiatric and psychological problem, directly dealing with the mental state of affairs pertaining to the individual committing it.

HAMZA Jan 08, 2017 02:48pm

This law is only to stop citizens of Pakistan from speaking against Government on social media. As this recently also happened.

zulfiqar ahmed Jan 08, 2017 06:39pm

@Nighat dAD - would definitely do that.

Waqas Jan 08, 2017 06:59pm

@Amina : They might have some connection though which i really do not want to assume. But there are acute chances of that, otherwise, it could not have led this predicament to such stage.

El Cid Jan 08, 2017 08:42pm

A person who commits suicide is responsible for it. Period.

Afnan Jan 08, 2017 10:19pm

How he got her pictures? Did Naila ever approached Police,FIA on threats being received? What can Cyber Law do if it is never invoked by victim?

Zala Jan 09, 2017 12:55am

After reading this article I felt that there is still hope in Pakistan.

Pakistani Jan 09, 2017 03:07am

Why repetitively keep electing people who have no intention for your well being.

Adi Jan 09, 2017 05:04am

Tragic! Man should be punished for taking undue advantage of the oppertunity provided by the girl but he never wanted to kill her .

Jane Shepard Jan 09, 2017 05:28am

@Vague Buster ...you mean stopping people from committing suicide? That's a brilliant idea! Why didn't anyone think of that. In case it flew by, that's what everyone is talking about. Given some other comments however, it appears you may have meant by "naila type" behavior as keeping "ladies" imprisoned at home so that no one even knows what they look like let alone take pictures and vids...I hear some people are recruiting your type, you'd be more comfortable with them. Misogynistic tendencies cloaked in patriarchal concern from some people are what's part of the problem.

abdul fataH@OMAN Jan 09, 2017 07:55am

STILL TRUTH IS HIDE.......!

Manzer Jan 09, 2017 09:16am

Why blame the government or the law. Did she complain about the blackmail? It is the responsibility of the civil society to make make organizations to help such women and girls. Where were her friends and associates?

fari Jan 09, 2017 09:42am

@Ahmed bin Babar Sir It is responsibility of law to protect its citizens.Seems like you are totally unaware!

AOA1 Jan 09, 2017 10:06am

Did she pose her pics or did she sent him her private pics? Coin has 2 sides.

umair aziz Jan 09, 2017 11:32am

Create awareness, make brochures and make them available to in every university. We don't need government for this.Universities should do it, in order to prevent these incidents.

haider Jan 09, 2017 11:36am

I salute both of you, madams

hnmirza Jan 09, 2017 11:53am

Regardless of how he got her pictures or whether she sent them or he stole them, it takes a real low life to blackmail some one let alone a vulnerable girl.

yahya maqsood Jan 09, 2017 01:20pm

@Ahmed bin Babar... have some respect for deceased ... suicide is last option one will take.. damn

asad Jan 09, 2017 02:01pm

very unfortunate incident but appreciate writer, to write this article

Truth Hurts Jan 09, 2017 02:20pm

She has not complained at all so how is law and institutions responsible. She must have filed a complaint.

I Sarfraz Jan 09, 2017 02:39pm

does pakistani cyber law need to dictate individuals how to behave when making friends online? self respect and presentation is better.

Nayla Jan 09, 2017 05:48pm

Why someone in their right mind would snap and upload their naked pictures?

THREATNING Jan 09, 2017 06:00pm

Poorly written article, after reading the complete passage one is not able get an idea how law failed to sort out or help her in this case.

para legal Jan 09, 2017 06:17pm

Family Courts Act and Family Laws amended in Punjab, last year, are still awaiting implementation. Please raise some voice about that. Destitute women and children are slowly dying and perishing at the door steps of family courts in lower judiciary. All provinces should amend their respective family court laws to make life easier for victims of abuse of spouses.

Dr athar abbas, Houston, USA Jan 09, 2017 09:42pm

Of all the news items and conversations in news papers in Pakistan, one theme is common: all responsibility of everything happening in this country lies with the government. We as citizens have zero responsibility. I ask all of the comment writers. Where is the responsibility of the Parents of that girl: did they take care of their daughter? Did they educate her enough to know what to do and what to stay away from? Where is the responsibility of her teachers to do the same? Where is the responsibility of TV channels to educate people about the cyber bullying and the related laws? Has any channel started a program where they educate people? All new papers and channels are busy in, is to blame the government and the poor minister? Does the media understand their responsibility, Parents, relatives, society as a whole?

Dr athar abbas, Houston, USA Jan 09, 2017 09:50pm

I must add: I am a father of three children. The first responsibility of their well being is on "ME" irrespective of what the Houston's mayor is doing, what the congressman from this area, or the governor of Texas is doing. If they are in any trouble (GOD Forbid), 99% of the responsibility falls on "ME". SO I ASK AGAIN what were Naila Rind's parents doing when all of the cyber bullying, black mailing and harassment was happening? Where was media, where was the society, where were the elders of the neighborhood, where were the teachers, friends and others?

PEHLAY APNAY GAREEBAAN MAIN JHANKIYAY, before blaming everything on the government.

Saqib ghumman Jan 09, 2017 11:29pm

Half truth is shown as it's not the full copy of FIR and will await what Mr XYZnhave to say??

faisal khan Jan 10, 2017 03:04am

if someone is blackmailing with pictures and video..it must be reported to law enforcement..to commit suicide is senseless...a product of sick sharam hayaa culture...

quresh Jan 10, 2017 07:15am

@Ahmed bin Babar ... Well said. People make mistakes and blame others. Every action comes with consequences.

Asad Ali Jan 10, 2017 09:16am

Commendable effort by the writers of this blog. It gives hope to dozens if not hundreds of other Naila's in Sindh University, other institutions and workplaces who are suffering silently. The present regime is aloof and totally out of sync. with the sentiments of this unfortunate nation. It ended up drafting laws and ordinances just to save its own false pride , ineptness and corrupt practices.

Idealist Jan 10, 2017 11:39am

a great write up in support of Naila.. I hope the government and the courts may do justice to Naila..