Reported submitted in IHC: FIA implicates Chairman Changezi in PCATP polls hacking case

ISLAMABAD: While submitting a report before Islamabad High Court in the PCATP Elections Hacking Case, the Federal Investigation Agency has disclosed that the IP address used for hacking is registered at the house of Chairman PCATP, Architect Arif Changezi. Besides, the agency apprised it has served an inquiry notice on Chairman Arif Changezi in the matter; his reply is awaited.

After every two years more than 10,000 registered architects and town planners elect as many as 15 executive committee members, including chairman, to run the affairs of Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP).

During the last month architects Jehangir Khan Sherpao, Azhar M Sualehi, Farmanullah Khan, and Husnain Raza Khan invoked jurisdiction of the IHC, claiming the online voting system was hacked. They urged the court to set aside the election results and issue directives for transparent re-polling to protect their right of vote.

Advocate Umer Ijaz Gilani and Jehanzeb Durrani appeared before a single-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Babar Sattar and prayed for directives to the FIA to probe into the hacking, terming it an offence under the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. They also sought the court’s directives for the FIA to initiate an inquiry into the matter.

The FIA submitted a report before the IHC (copy of which is available with TLTP). Citing the director of the IT company Oath Systems, the company which conducted elections,  Mr. Azm Hermain, the FIA said this IT company provided an online voting system for the election of the executive committee. The FIA quoted Mr. Hermain that their system got a cyber attack at 2:00am on March 07, 2023 and the hacker changed the number of votes in the system.

The FIA report further disclosed that Mr. Hermain recovered and restored the electronic voting system and tried to change the data in its original form. “I also informed about that hacking attempt to PCATP through email”, the director told the FIA.

After analysing   and examining the IP addresses, a total of two IP addresses were extracted, the FIA further said, adding both were involved in the criminal activity. Citing two different IP addresses, the FIA report further disclosed that both the IP addresses were sent to concerned quarters for their subscriber details.

Reply regarding IP addresses received from PTCL showed that the IP addresses were registered in the name of Mohammad Arif (Incumbent Chairman of the PCATP), resident of Karachi. On April 4, 2023, during enquiry, attendance notice was sent under the CRPC to Mohammad Arif to join the enquiry for his statement.  An assistant director of the cybercrime FIA Islamabad Sh Amer Sohail Anjum submitted the report, saying enquiry about hacking of Electronic Voting System is under probe and will be concluded at the earliest to secure the ends of justice.

Meanwhile, when TLTP contacted incumbent PCATP chief Arif Changezi absolutely denied the allegations, saying he has nothing to do with any manipulation of the election results. Terming the election free and fair, he expressed, “Is it logical to use my own home IP address for manipulation of the online voting system?”

Changezi said that he announced the result via using the Zoom platform, adding three of the five election committee members have vetted the election result.



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