Governments of the industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind....You have no sovereignty where we gather....You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts....These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. (A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow, February 8, 1996.) This declaration, coming exactly two hundred and twenty years after the Declaration of Independence by several American states, unequivocally and forcefully pronounces that the political governments do not have any jurisdiction whatsoever in the cyber domain, and that any such wanton interference in the form of draconian laws and ordinances will be resisted with resilience and fortitude by the cyber community. The present government, however, seems to be oblivious to and undeterred by, this categorical declaration by the cyber community, which has now grown to encompass the mobile phone users, apart from the traditional Internet users. The recent changes in the Cyber Crimes (Prevention of Electronic crimes) Ordinance 2008, which is actually a re-promulgation of the ordinance originally introduced by Musharraf regime in 2007, not only smack of dictatorial tendencies on part of the government which believes in legislation through ordinances, but also aim to quell the right to freedom of expression in the country in the name of national interest, as has been the proclivity of the previous governments - whether elected or unelected. As per these amendments in the ordinance, sending indecent, provocative and ill-motivated messages through e-mails and SMS is an offence, which entails an imprisonment of 14 years along with the confiscation of property. Apparently, these amendments in the ordinance are directed towards those who are ridiculing, and spreading ill-motivated anecdotes about, the government through the use of mobile phones and Internet. This article discusses the background, motives, implications and legality of the ordinance in general and the recent amendments in particular. To start with, one must appreciate the far-sightedness of the government for realising that in this highly technical and computer-savvy age, traditional modes of mass communication like radio. newspapers and TV do not pose a serious threat to the national interest and even if they do, they could be regulated and controlled with the help of PEMRA, as has been done during Musharraf's regime when the historic Lawyers Movement was at its peak. The real danger, which was realised quite belatedly by Musharraf government to its detriment, on the other hand, lies in free and uncensored usage of the cyber space, i.e., SMS. emails, blogs etc, which cannot be monitored and regulated easily. Being an active participant in the Lawyers Movement, there is no doubt in my mind that it was this unbridled and unrestrained usage of internet and mobile phones - whereby not only the unpopular politicians were ridiculed and their ill-advised policies exposed to a large audience but also large anti-government protests were orchestrated on short calls - that ultimately proved quite instrumental in the downfall of the Musharraf regime. Fearing the same fate, the incumbent government has decided to act pro-actively: hence. firstly the re-promulgation of the said ordinance in the end of year 2008 with minor amendments, and now the draconian changes in the ordinance to punish 'the SMS/Email terrorists' as if they are more detrimental to the national security than the original terrorists who wreak havoc, where they want, with impunity, leaving the person and property of the citizens of the country; in constant danger and fear. Now as far as the avowed motives of the incumbent government behind these amendments in the Cyber Crime act are concerned, interior advisor in his press conference stated that the changes in the ordinance were necessitated in order to protect lady members of Parliament the receive abusive calls or text messages; to prevent terrorist or banned groups from using the Internet for propaganda against the Pakistani military; and lastly and most importantly, to curb slander against the political leadership of the country. Needless to say that the first motive, i.e. the protection of lady members of Parliament from abusive calls and text messages, could have been catered under the existing laws in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1 860 under Chapter XXII - Criminal intimidation, insult and annoyance - and there is no need for any specialised law under the Cyber Crime Act for this. Section 507 and section 509 of this chapter of PPC not only clearly address the matter at hand but also prescribe imprisonment of one to four years for these offences along with fine. As for the second reason, i.e., internet propaganda against Pakistan military, is concerned; firstly, every one in the country seems to be happy with, and supporting, the on-going military operation against the militants in northern and tribal areas of Pakistan. Secondly, if any such persons does resort to criticising or peddling unwarranted internet propaganda against the military, existing provisions in the PPC (Chapter VII, and section 505a) along with other acts cater to this as well. With the existing laws catering well to the first two avowed motives of the changes in the ordinance, one is left with no doubt that the real motive was to curb slander against the political leadership of the country, which, interestingly enough, is also dealt with by the existing laws i.e. the defamation ordinance, 2002 and Chapter XXI of PPC. What then, was the pressing need for introducing changes in the ordinance, if the existing laws cover the real motive of the amendments? A close perusal of the said chapter of PPC reveals that it relates to defamation of any person, whether it be a civilian/government official, and not specifically and thus more elaborately to the government as done in the ordinance after the amendments; secondly, the maximum imprisonment prescribed for the offender is two years along with fine, which, for the cronies of the presidency, is not good enough for the perpetrators of such a heinous crime: hence the punishment of 14 years in the amended ordinance - the punishment which, before the amendments in the Cyber Crime ordinance, could only be given to a murderer, terrorist, and those undermining the 1973 constitution. Now the question is whether these amendments in the ordinance would be able to withstand the public pressure, and more importantly the judicial review by the ubiquitous superior judiciary of the country? The previous such tactics like the open threats of the interior advisor that SMS would be banned; and thereafter, a more practical but reprehensible act of imposition of new tax on SMS - both could not endure the public's and mobile companies pressure. In short, the government must realise that it cannot submit its citizens to submission by promulgating such harsh legal regimes. It should, on the other hand, work to improve its image and standing in the public, which is at the receiving end in all walks of life, with rampant poverty, growing unemployment, ever-present load shedding and the deteriorating law and order situation in the country. The government should be well advised that pushing its own citizens to yield to submission by intimidatory tactics has never worked and it will not work this time either. The writer is a corporate lawyer based in Lahore E-mail: