Dr Amir Ahmed Sheikh
Dr Amir Ahmed Sheikh

KARACHI: The Sindh chapter of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday launched its web portal for registration of complaints related to cybercrime, becoming the first province to take the initiative with a promise to protect user identity.

Addressing a press conference at his office, Sindh FIA director Dr Amir Ahmed Sheikh announced the launch of the portal (www.fiacybercrimesindh.com.pk) and urged women and youngsters in particular to report cybercrime or harassment on the website.

“In 2017, 76 per cent of the total complaints relating to social media were registered by our cybercrime wing,” he said, adding that 150 million people in the country were using mobile phones of which 50m were broadband subscribers.

“Hence, the growing use of this [social media] technology by criminal elements should not surprise anyone,” said Dr Sheikh.

The website can register complaints in Urdu, English or Sindhi

He said the website launched by the FIA’s Sindh chapter was designed keeping in mind a user-friendly approach and had the capacity to register complaints in Urdu, English or Sindhi.

The FIA officials, he said, after receiving the complaint over the web portal would contact the complainant within 48 hours and in case of urgency, he or she could be approached “within the next few minutes” as well.

“We encourage women, who hesitate to come forward with any complaint or threat they receive on social media or online, to use the platform,” said Dr Sheikh, adding that if someone felt that his or her name should not be revealed, his/her identity would be kept secret.

Even if there was a provision in the law which allowed names to be shared with the court, they would not be passed on without the complainant’s permission, he maintained.

“The portal is for the benefit of the people in general, but women, youngsters and other weak segments of society can rely on it more than anyone else for greater benefits,” said the FIA official.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2018