ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Wednesday informed a parliamentary body that the authority cannot block a specific individual unlawful online content present on secure social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, but it can shut the whole site.

A senior official of the PTA, while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior, met with Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz in the chair, regarding unknown Facebook account “Buner Times” circulating wrong statement on behalf of MNA Sher Akbar Khan, said that the PTA can only take action against social media platforms existing in the country with respect to unlawful online content but the authority could not block unlawful content present on foreign social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

“PTI write letters to YouTube and Facebook for blocking individual contents but these platforms have their own community laws and they take decisions as per these laws,” he said, adding that the PTA is dependent on foreign social media platforms operating in Pakistan regarding removal or blocking of unlawful online content.

He further said that under Section 37 of the PTA of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, the PTA has been empowered to remove or block or issue directions for blocking or removal of unlawful online content.

The PTA has devised a standard operating procedure (SOP) for lodging complaints, he said, adding that an online portal is provided to stakeholder organisations to lodge complaints accord to their domain.

Currently, there are 38 stakeholders including Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), provincial home departments, provincial counter-terrorism departments etc, he said.

The official said that the authority has also publicised an email address i.e. [email protected] for lodging complaints regarding online unlawful contents and authority can also be approached through fax and conventional mail.

Nawaz expressed annoyance over absence of director cybercrime FIA in the meeting and directed senior officials of the Ministry of Interior to ensure his presence during the next meeting.

The committee also discussed in detail the issues related to the National Police Foundation (NPF) O-9 Housing Society and directed the Ministry of Interior to take action against the managing directors (MDs) of the NPF who sold plots on adhoc no objection certificates (NOCs).

A senior official of the NPF told the committee that the NPF has filed its request to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for issuance of NOC and approval of layout plant of O-9 housing society.

When committee chairman asked that how plots were sold in O-9 without NOC, the NPF official said that plots were sold on adhoc NOC.

Nawaz said that plots cannot be sold on adhoc NOC.

He directed the secretary Ministry of Interior to take action against MDs of the NPF who were responsible for selling of plots through adhoc NOC.

The committee discussed and passed the Capital Development Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 bill.

According to statement of objects and reasons, the federal government proposed certain amendments in the criteria for appointment of chairman and board members through the CDA Amendment Ordinance 2018, which was subsequently extended for another term of 120 days by the National Assembly, which comply with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) order.

Recently, the federal government has decided the restructuring of the CDA board and notification in this regard was issued by the Cabinet Division.

The amendment is related to addition of words joint venture, public-private partnership, concession agreements etc in Section 15 (2) in clause (v) of CDA Ordinance, 1960, which shall enable the CDA to enter into agreement with a private party for the provision of infrastructure facilities, management functions and or service with a clear allocation of risks and benefits between the two parties.

This will lessen the financial burden on the CDA, government and will enhance development activities, it says.

The committee also passed the Islamabad Rental Restriction (amendment) Bill 2020 moved by MNA Nusrat Wahid.

The committee passed, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The Lt Commandant Frontier Constabulary (FC) briefed the committee about the functions, performance, expenditure and issues of the FC.

He informed that the FC works under the control of the federal government.

The government is empowered to deploy FC in any part of Pakistan for better protection and administration of those areas.

The FC has its Corps Headquarters (CHQ) located in Peshawar, it is headed by Commandant FC (CFC), who is assisted by two deputy commandants (DCs FC).

District is the basic unit of operational hierarchy of the FC, there are 17 districts in total, known by the names of FC Districts.

Each district is headed by a District Officer (DO), commonly known as DO FC, who is an officer of the rank of BS-19 or BS-18.

The Committee directed the ministry to resolve the issues of the FC relating to salaries, Shuhada compensation, allowances and operational activities.

MNA Sher Akber Khan, NafeesaInayatullah Khan Khattak, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Abdul Qadir Patel, Syed Agha Rafiullah, senior officials of the Ministry of Interior, and CDA attended the meeting.