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October 25, 2020

FIA receives more than 12,000 complaints regarding e-commerce

Islamabad

October 25, 2020

Islamabad : Mehmood-ul-Hassan, Deputy Director, Cybercrime Wing, Federal Investigation Agency, has said that only in 2019, FIA received more than 12,000 complaints regarding e-commerce and online trading.

Mr Mehmood was speaking at a webinar on Cyber Security organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here.

Mr Mehmood said that the most common are the identity theft and hacking. He said that in order to bring the cybercrime cases in the police jurisdiction, the agency moved a law in Parliament, but public also needs to be made aware of the safe use of online trade, commerce, and banking.

Muhammad Bilal Abbasi, Director (IT), Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, said that instead of focusing on the traditional import destinations, like the US, we need to widen our import markets. He also emphasised on the importance of binding online companies of Pakistan to bring the money back to Pakistan which they earn through online businesses. It will increase our remittances pool, he said, adding that we are working on establishing special technological zones to facilitate foreign investors.

Fawad Niazi, Senior Manager, Regulatory Strategy & Compliance, U-Fone, said that soon after the Covid-19, online businesses saw a surge which further needs to be facilitated and all the fears of users and e-commerce individuals should be removed by framing more active cybersecurity and data protection laws.

Muneeb Sikander, the strategic planning expert, said that we need not only to comply with the Global Trade Facilitation Agreement but also to digitise our agriculture sector by providing safe, secure and cheap broadband Internet to farmers. Moreover, Patwari system should be replaced with an alternative digital system, he said.

Samar Hasan, the Co-Founder and CEO of Epiphany, said that Pakistan’s freelancing industry needs facilitation in terms of data protection, capacity building and infrastructure development. Similarly, we also need to facilitate foreign investors, especially in the gaming industry by easing the cumbersome processes of money transfer and money deposits. She further said that the government facilitation in the e-sport sector is direly needed, as it has a great potential. Stressing the need for provision of uninterrupted internet to all areas of Pakistan and the inclusion of women based micro-enterprises, she called for introducing women digital literacy programmes.

Earlier, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, SDPI Executive Director, in his introductory note, stressed upon the security of country’s financial data which, is also a demand of the Financial Action Task Force. Though our institutions like FIA are working on data security, it needs a robust response, he added saying telecom companies are also bound to protect the privacy of users’ personal data. He said it would not only give impetus to our digital trade but also provide equal opportunities for online businesses to all and sundry.

Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI, was of the view that many firms often lack cybersecurity and data protection infrastructure so they need a customised solution. Our regulatory policies and laws must be in cognizance with the peers’ economies so that our enterprises remain competitive and our regime easy to understand foreign investors, he said. He said the lukewarm and untimely response of the state apparatus in alleviating the fears and addressing the complaints of the online business community and users also proved a discouraging factor in digitisation process.