Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bill to regularize internet cafes is ready, seeking approval of Punjab Assembly

The law department of Punjab has prepared the bill for regularization of internet cafes all over the province. According to approximation, there are nearly 2000 internet cafes in the Lahore city. Earlier, the CM Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif had ordered to regularize the internet cafes after the public concerns related to internet cafes were thoroughly discussed in a prominent talk show of a television channel.
As per details, the regularization bill for internet cafes is heavily focused on the removal of private cabins from internet cafes. In this regard, all existing cabins will be removed and the new net cafe owners will be bound not to build cabins. That means, computers in net cafes will be placed on simple tables/desks so that no secret corner is left for committing any sort of vulgarity, crime and hacking. Besides, Internet cafe owners will be bound to get the identity card( CNIC) of their customer and they will also have to save and maintain the record of their customers’ identity cards. Additionally, the Internet cafes will remain open between 8 am till 10 pm only. If any computer at the cafe is found to have been misused for criminal, anti-social or anti-country activity, the owner of the internet cafe will be held responsible.
Apparently, the bill does address most of the issues related to internet cafes, but, there are points which need to be included in the bill before it is presented in the assembly for a comprehensive debate. For example, there are internet cafes which offer “Sheesha” as an attraction for the customers to stay for longer period within the cafe. Not only it brings an extra income to the cafe owners who sell Sheesha within their premises, but also, it is a deviation for the youth from their productive work. Government must discourage such practices through the upcoming bill as well.
At the moment, bill has been designed and ready to be presented before the provincial assembly. Provincial assembly is likely to approve the bill in the upcoming session before it is given the status of law.

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