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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Classified papers on social media: Govt to register cases under Official Secrets Act

The government had taken a “strict notice of unauthorized dissemination of sensitive and classified information

By Our Correspondent
May 14, 2024
Federal Minister for Defence Affairs Khawaja Asif. — APP/File
Federal Minister for Defence Affairs Khawaja Asif. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Monday said the federal government had decided to register cases under the Official Secrets Act 2023 against all those who were directly or indirectly involved in the unauthorized disclosure or dissemination of secret documents.

Speaking on ‘X’, he said the government had taken a “strict notice of unauthorized dissemination of sensitive and classified information” in the wake of classified documents surfacing across social media platforms.

“Decision to register cases under the Official Secrets Act 2023 has been taken particularly after the open display of classified documents, especially documents labelled as secret and punishment for the crime is two-year imprisonment and fine,” Asif said.

He noted that spread of such information could seriously damage Pakistan’s relations with its brotherly and friendly countries and harm strategic and economic interests. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had approved a draft to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016 as part of the federal government’s decision to regulate the social media through legislation.

Establishment of a Digital Rights Protection Authority has also been suggested. The Authority under the Ministry of Information Technology’s jurisdiction would advise the government on matters related to digital rights, ensure responsible use of the internet and enforce regulations. The Authority, according to the proposed legislation, would collaborate with the social media platforms to facilitate the promotion of a positive digital ecosystem.