ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday launched a booklet titled ‘Cyber Crime Risks, Prevention and Legal Remedies-Guidelines for Cyber Users’ and requested the education ministry and universities to make it part of their syllabi.

Addressing the launching ceremony at the FIA headquarters, the agency’s director general, Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, said the agency welcomed collaboration with academia, civil society, media and community-based organisations.

“I request the Ministry of Education and universities to make this booklet part of their syllabi,” Dr Abbasi said, adding that the agency was committed towards making cyber space a safer place for Pakistani users. Cyber crimes are emerging as a challenge for law enforcement agencies across Pakistan, especially for FIA, as 80 per cent of its complaints now relate to it.

The magnitude of cyber crime in Pakistan can be gauged from the fact that FIA received 84,764 complaints in 2020, 300pc more than the complaints received in 2019, Mr Abbasi said, adding that FIA through its Cyber Crime Wing (CCW) was making consistent efforts to cope with this multidimensional challenge.

For this purpose the government is providing sufficient resources to revamp digital forensics capability and human resource of CCW, the director general said, adding that as part of the strategy to effectively prevent cyber crimes this booklet has been produced to create awareness among cyber users about potential risks from criminals as well as the remedies they may avail eventually if they become victims.

He highlighted that major categories of complaints pertain to financial fraud, harassment, defamation and child pornography. In each category specialised cells have been established for prevention, investigation and prosecution of these offences.

The legal framework is also being strengthened in light of public feedback and judicial verdicts, the DG said, adding that nature of cybercrime is as such that law enforcement departments cannot handle it all alone.

At the end, he thanked and congratulated the team that compiled the booklet especially Additional DG (Cyber Crime Wing) Ehsan Sadiq besides former FIA DG Wajid Zia for his contribution.

Former FIA additional director general Amaar Jafferi appreciated the efforts of FIA in issuing the guidelines as businesses, individuals and society at large was suffering at the hands of cyber criminals.

Unsuspecting citizens not only get defrauded but also commit cyber crime due to ignorance of law, he said, adding that the booklet was a step in the right direction.

Former secretary, Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Barrister Mohammad Sarwar Khan highlighted the importance of this initiative and termed it a comprehensive document as it encompassed all threats (from the individual to national level). He hoped that it would help the law enforcement department and the society as a whole to understand threats and remedies in very simple and understandable ways.

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Dr Ziaul Qayyum lauded the public centric approach of FIA, evidenced through this booklet and offered to disseminate cyber security awareness to the 1.2 million students registered with AIOU.

Associate professor, Department of Cyber Security, Air University Dr Zunaira Jalil termed the booklet very informative as real world case studies were included in it.

Additional secretary, Ministry of Education Mohiudin Wani, while commenting at the launch, said the book has educational value and the education department will try to make it a part of the school and college syllabus from the platform of National Curriculum Council.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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