Islamabad: 68 cases of online female harassment registered in 2011
ISLAMABAD: Incidents of online harassment of females witnessed a rapid increase during 2011, as 68 cases were registered.
District court records revealed that 68 cases of cybercrime were registered with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against persons who were allegedly involved in hacking e-mail accounts of females, and sending them abusive, obnoxious and vulgar e-mails.
Official sources in the FIA Cyber Crime Unit (CCU) said that the incidence of cybercrime in Pakistan had increased last year. Sources said that mostly youths were involved in these types of crimes. Sources added that 26 cases of cybercrime were reported to the CCU in 2007, while 36 were reported in 2008. In 2009 the ratio was lower, but rose to 45 in 2010.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Mohsin Khan for hacking e-mail accounts, and creating and uploading fake profiles on social networking site Facebook. These profiles also included mobile phone numbers of females. The accused was arrested on October 12 last year.
An FIR was also registered against a local varsity teacher, named Tanveer, who was involved in harassing a female employee of a local telecommunication company, by texting and sending her vulgar e-mails. The accused was arrested on March 19.
Another FIR was against a person named Noman Asif, who was working as a computer expert in a private company, and had been involved in creating fake, vulgar Facebook accounts of four females from the same family. The case was registered on the request of complainant Afzal Qureshi, who said that some unidentified person had created fake profiles and uploaded pictures of his wife and three daughters on the social networking site. Qureshi said that Asif’s phone number along with those of his wife and daughters had also been posted on these fake profiles. He added that Asif had tried to portray his family members as call girls, while himself posing as their agent. The FIA arrested Asif in February last year.
Another case is under trial in District Court against two men, Syed Umair and Frahan Shah, who were involved in hacking the e-mail accounts of a female, and then harassed her by sending abusive, obnoxious, and vulgar e-mails.
An FIR was also registered against Ghulam Mustafa, who was hired as a teacher for online preaching to overseas Pakistanis, but was later found to have sent e-mails with pornographic material to female clients. The accused was arrested on May 13.
A number of other cases were also registered under section 36 and 37 of the Electronic Transaction Ordinance (ETO) and 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against persons involved in harassing females through the Internet.
FIA CCU Investigation Officer Chaudhry Mumtaz told Daily Times that cybercrimes targeting females were increasing in society, while the FIA was trying to play its role to combat this trend.
He said that the FIA could act more effectively if a comprehensive complaint was lodged and all required information was provided, but in majority of such cases victims avoid registering a complaint or provide false information to safeguard their identities.
He added that a comprehensive strategy was being devised to counter cybercrimes more effectively.