Ordinance to set up islands development authority has lapsed, SHC told

Published January 16, 2021
A federal law officer on Friday informed the Sindh High Court that the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance had already lapsed. — PPI/File
A federal law officer on Friday informed the Sindh High Court that the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance had already lapsed. — PPI/File

KARACHI: A federal law officer on Friday informed the Sindh High Court that the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance had already lapsed.

Assistant Attorney General Hussain Bohra submitted this before a two-judge bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, during the hearing of a set of petitions challenging the vires of the recently promulgated PIDA Ordinance.

He submitted that the ordinance in question had already lapsed.

The bench adjourned the hearing on the matter till Jan 27 due to absence of the counsel for other petitioners.

Initially, Advocate Shahab Usto had petitioned the SHC that the object of the impugned ordinance was reportedly to establish an authority for offshore islands of Sindh and Balochistan, particularly Bundal and Buddo islands along Karachi’s coast.

The petitioner had submitted that the impugned ordinance had sabotaged the constitutional scheme by which the territorial integrity of the provinces had been guaranteed under the Constitution.

The draft Personal Data Protection Bill has been sent to law ministry for vetting

In a previous hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan Barrister Khalid Jawed Khan had assured the court that no development works would be carried out on the islands without consultation of the Sindh government.

Mobile users’ data breach case

The SHC was informed on Friday that a proposed law aiming to protect the personal data of Pakistani mobile phone users had been deliberated upon with stakeholders and the same had been finally sent to the law ministry for its legal vetting.

AAG Bohra submitted this before the two-judge bench headed by Justice Mazhar during the hearing of a petition seeking a probe into reports regarding an alleged data breach of 115 million mobile phone users from Pakistan and its sale on the darknet.

On the last date, the judges had asked the federal law officer to appraise the court on the progress with regard to Personal Data Protection Bill, 2020.

During Friday’s hearing, Mr Bohra sought more time to submit comments to show further progress in the matter.

Advocate Samina Iqbal for the National Database and Registration Authority submitted a reply, which was taken on record.

By consent, the bench adjourned the hearing till Feb 2 and directed the office to transmit copy of the order to the attorney general of Pakistan and the information technology and telecom secretary for their intimation.

On a last hearing, the interior ministry had informed the SHC that no data related to Pakistani mobile users was leaked on the part of Nadra.

The ministry had stated that an inquiry board was constituted on the purported data leakage and it concluded that the report of M/s Rewterz, a specialised cybersecurity services firm in Pakistan, itself confirmed that data shared was related to Pakistan mobile users and not of Nadra while a detailed forensic analysis through various tests also reconfirmed that there was no data leakage on part of Nadra.

The bench had also directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take all necessary preventive steps to save the mobile users’ data.

Petitioner Advocate Tariq Mansoor had approached the court, submitting that the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Act, 2020 and Data Protection Bill, 2020 were under consideration, but the proper legislation had not been done yet.

He submitted that there were reports of Rewterz about the personal data breach of 115m Pakistani mobile phone users allegedly by telecom service providers and the same was being shown on the darknet by some cybercriminals, who were demanding 300 bitcoins (BTC) for the data.

He had further argued that the data, including full names, complete addresses and CNICs of cellular users, was reportedly put for sale online.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2021

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