Update on today’s meeting:
When we found out that the invitation to today’s standing committee on IT meeting had been further restricted to 5 people and all JAC members had been discluded except our Director Farieha Aziz (the committee itself decided I should represent JAC as you might have seen in the papers), we decided to field names for today’s meeting from all organizations who requested a hearing and asked two lawyers to accompany us. The names and CNICs were sent to the IT committee secretary last night.
We arrived at Parliament House together. At the gate, most people were stopped as their names were not on the list of invitees and were turned away. Columnist Gul Bukhari, Director Digital Rights Foundation Nighat Dad, Asad Baig from @Media Matters, Sadaf Baig from Bytes for All, Pakistan made it through. Convener of @ISPAK Wahaj Us Siraj, Lawyer Babar Sattar, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association Jehan Ara and Usama Khilji of Bolo Bhi were stopped at the gate and not allowed entry. We would like to thank MNA Shazia Marri who immediately assisted and escorted everyone in.
Everyone present, spoke at the committee meeting. This included: Jehan Ara, Wahaj Siraj, Nighat Dad, Sadaf Baig, Gul Bukhari, Asad Baig, Babar Sattar and our director Farieha Aziz. We recorded our reservations verbally and in writing. This bill will be debated on further. A Committee has been formed by the Chairman and the members of the committee have been asked to meet with JAC and and others present to hear and address reservations. IT Ministry has been asked to assist in this and ensure meetings take place. Member legal has been asked to do this on their behalf.
PS: We regret that civil society members Advocate Aftab Alam and Iqbal Khattak could not make it to the meeting and were barred from entry.