Ban on Websites
On Friday, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz, directed relevant authorities to take measures to ban websites featuring questionable content, specifically addressing the rising exposure of children to online pornography.
During the meeting, the committee was briefed on efforts by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to combat this issue. A specialized unit named the ‘Unit to Counter Online Child Abuse’ has been established, resulting in 184 FIRs and 225 arrests related to child pornography over the past two years, with a current conviction rate of 27%.
Senator Mohsin Aziz emphasized the need to increase the conviction rate in child abuse cases and highlighted the importance of raising awareness to tackle this menace.
The committee also discussed bills related to tree cutting and street vendors. Senator Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan presented the ‘The Cutting of Trees (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2023,’ aiming to protect the environment by preventing the cutting of centuries-old trees for urban development. However, the committee deferred discussions on the bill to a later meeting, considering existing provisions in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for tree protection.
Another bill discussed was ‘The Rehriban (Street Vendors) Livelihood Protection Bill, 2023,’ presented by Senator Sania Nishtar. This bill aimed to provide a legal framework for the approximately one million street vendors in the country, protecting them from municipal staff and shopkeepers. The committee, noting conflicts with the Local Government Act and existing bylaws, deferred further discussions on this bill.
Additionally, the committee considered ‘The National Database and Registration Authority Bill 2023,’ presented by Senator Fawzia Arshad. Nadra officials informed the committee about the existing Nadra ordinance, making citizen registration mandatory and refusal to comply a punishable offense. The committee deferred discussions on this bill to the next meeting.