Home Latest News Sharing ‘Classified’ Information on Social Media to Attract Cases under Official Secrets Act

Sharing ‘Classified’ Information on Social Media to Attract Cases under Official Secrets Act

Defense minister claims circulation of such sensitive information can ‘seriously damage’ Pakistan’s strategic, economic interests, as well as its ties with allied nations

by Staff Report

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday warned that the government has decided to charge anyone involved with the unauthorized circulation—particularly on social media—of “sensitive and classified” information under the Official Secrets Act, 2023, which can attract up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine.

In a posting on X, formerly Twitter, he said the federal government has taken “strict notice” of the unauthorized dissemination of “sensitive and classified information,” especially those marked “secret.” Circulating such information, he said, could seriously damage Pakistan’s strategic and economic interests and could also damage the country’s ties with its “friends and brotherly countries.”

In this regard, he said, any individual who directly or indirectly facilitates the spread of such secret information or documents would face cases registered under the Official Secrets Act, 2023. “The punishment for this crime is two years imprisonment and a fine,” he warned.

There has been growing concern from the incumbent government as well as the security establishment of the spread of sensitive information on social media and the use of anonymous accounts to foster “enmity” against institutions. Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved a draft to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 as part of the government’s steps to regulate social media through legislation.

Earlier, the government had similarly established the National Cyber Crimes Investigation Agency, replacing the FIA’s Cybercrime Wing, to “safeguard” the digital rights of people and curtail the spread of propaganda and unfounded rumors on social media.

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