Cyber-crimes and their Punishments in Pakistan

Cyber-crimes are the offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS).

Cyber criminals use computer technology to access personal information, business trade secrets, or use the Internet for exploitive or malicious purposes. They use computers for communication and document or data storage.

In Pakistan the government is not allocating fair resources to tackle cyber-crimes. Resultantly, the crime has been doubled and there is alarming number of pending cases. The number of the complaints has been increasing day by day. A total of 50,505 complaints had been registered during the last year out of which 11,389 complaints were converted into enquiries and total 1,071 cases were registered till September 30, 2019. It is due to immense pressure on the cybercrime cell of FIA and the state is not making effective investment in the field of enhancing manpower as well as rendering training to the NR3C staff.

According to prevention of electronic crimes Act, 2016 following punishments should be given to the person committing cyber-crime:

Cyber stalking:                                                                         

Whoever commits this office is liable for imprisonment up-to three years or fine up-to one million rupees or both and in case of minor, imprisonment will be up to-five years and fine up-to ten million rupees or both.

Data diddling:

This is called “electronic forgery” in Pakistani legal system and the criminal is awarded punishment up to three years and fine up to two hundred and fifty thousand rupees or both and if the criminal commits this crime is respect to critical infrastructure, he will be imprisoned up to seven years and fine up to five million rupees or both.

Criminal defamation:   

Whoever intentionally and publicly exhibits or displays or transmits any information through any information system, which he knows to be false, and intimidates or harms the reputation or privacy of a natural person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one million rupees or with both.


Anyone (an individual or an organization) can be fined with up to Rs. 50,000 for the first and three months of jail if they:

  • Send spam emails/SMS without permission of receiver
  • Send emails without unsubscribe options
  • Send emails with
  • harmful fraudulent emails
  • misleading email
  • Illegal email.


 Up to 3 Years in Jail or fine up to Rs. 500,00 or both .

Whoever with dishonest intention establishes a website or sends any information with a counterfeit source intended to be believed by the recipient or visitor of the website to be an authentic source commits spoofing.

Unauthorized Access to Information or Data:

Law says that if you access any information system or data with dishonest intents then you can go to jail for up to three months or be liable to pay a fine up to Rs. 50,000 or both.

Unauthorized Copying or Transmission of Data:

Whoever with dishonest intention and without authorization copies or otherwise transmits or causes to be transmitted any data shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees or with both.

Unauthorized Access to Critical Infrastructure Information System or Data:

Whoever with dishonest intention gains unauthorized access to any critical infrastructure information system or data shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one million rupees or both.

National Response Centre for Cyber-crimes

The Government of Pakistan has established the “National Response Centre for Cybercrime,”  (NR3C) under the administrative control of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), to investigate the cybercrimes, trace the criminals and use their efforts to stop misuse of the internet.

NR3C has expertise to deal in the following subjects’ i.e. digital forensics, information system security audits, technical investigation, penetration testing and training in these fields. Since its establishment, it is working for the capacity building of law enforcement agencies, Bench and bar, and other Government organizations. This institution needs to be more vigilant towards the identification of these crimes. There are many challenges to overcome cyber-crimes successfully, to prevent such crimes education and public awareness is necessary. Due to lack of awareness of existing cyber-crimes, the general public is facing many problems. Even the law enforcement agencies are unaware of these crimes due to complex nature of these crimes. Therefore, the proper understanding of such crimes is necessary to

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