The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), 2016, aimed at bringing blasphemy and pornography within the ambit of the cybercrime law.

The issue of offences relating to blasphemy was recently taken up by the Islamabad High Court during the hearing of a petition filed against alleged uploading of objectionable material on social media.

Additional Attorney General Afnan Karim Kundi had last week informed the court that the federal government was amending Peca to include blasphemy and pornography as scheduled offences in the cybercrime law.

The cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, also reviewed the Haj policy and plan for 2018.

While deciding not to increase Haj dues this year under the government Haj scheme, the cabinet approved the policy, with certain amendments.

Observing that the instructions issued to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take off-air and later restore transmission of private TV channels on Nov 25 and 26, 2017, respectively, during the Faizabad sit-in were policy directives of the federal government, the meeting accorded ex-post facto approval to the two directives.

The meeting ratified minutes of the meetings of the Economic Coordination Committee held on November 1, 13 and 28. Minutes of the meetings of Cabinet Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor held on November 9 and 17 were also ratified by the meeting.

The meeting also granted ex-post facto approval to the formation of National Implementation Committee on Fata Reforms. Minister for defence and corp commander 11 Corp have been included in the high-level implementation committee.

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