Pakistan Lacks Privacy Laws for E-commerce: ADB


Pakistan does not have a privacy statute of the general application nor has a national consumer protection statute that applies directly to electronic commerce, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

ADB, in its report “E-commerce in CAREC countries, laws and policies,” stated that as a national priority, Pakistan adopted an e-commerce policy in 2019 to create an enabling environment for holistic growth of e-commerce across all sectors of the country, including plans for national single window and cross-border e-commerce.

Pakistan adopted an Electronic Transactions Ordinance in 2002; there is no available information of any update during this study. The ordinance is quite different from the laws of other CAREC members. It adopts large parts of the Model Law on Electronic Commerce (MLEC). The ordinance indicates that the requirement for signatures “shall be deemed satisfied” where electronic signatures or advanced electronic signatures are applied.”

The report further noted that the ordinance does not require either evidence of intention or any degree of reliability. However, reliability is supported by the use of an “advanced electronic signature.” With such a signature, it is presumed that the signed document is authentic and has integrity, or that the signature is that of the person to whom it correlates, it was affixed for the purpose of signing or approving the document, and the e-document has not been altered since it was signed.

An advanced e-signature can be made in two ways. The first is to create it in the circumstances which the MLES says makes for a reliable signature. The second is to have it created by an accredited CSP considered by a government supervisory agency—the Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC)—to be capable of establishing authenticity and integrity. Not all CSPs need to be accredited.

Detailed regulations govern the accreditation process

The ordinance describes in detail the composition of the ECAC and its functions. Public bodies—known as “appropriate authority” in the ordinance—may accept or reject electronic documents and payments. If they decide to accept them, the authorities may specify the technology and the process to ensure the integrity of the information received. They are not in a position to negotiate the format, so the ordinance gives them the power to impose it.

Foreign signatures and certificates

The regulator of the accreditation system, the ECAC, is allowed to recognize or accredit foreign CSPs. The ordinance does not indicate the grounds on which such arrangements might be made or whether they should be reciprocated. The ECAC’s Accreditation Regulations say that a CSP formed in another country can get permission under corporate law to carry on business in Pakistan, and then apply for accreditation.


Source: Pro Pakistani