Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications has announced plans to establish a cyber security authority to combat increasing threats to computer systems on which the country relies.
Information Minister Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui noted that the authority would operate under a comprehensive cyber security policy the country is devising to defend against cyber crime.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, more than 50 million Pakistanis have access to mobile phones with high-speed internet access.
Despite the risk associated with increased computerization, Pakistan’s economy will benefit from the spread of information technology, Siddiqui said.
The ministry also intends to establish a regulatory body on information technology education to ensure quality and create more jobs for the 25,000 IT graduates Pakistan produces every year.
“My heart goes out to the young generation, and this ministry has been working to spur academic and entrepreneurial growth,” he said. “We need to keep pace with the world to generate more employment opportunities and end unemployment. It is technology and quality education which have helped in minimizing poverty.”
Regarding cyber threats from foreign and nonstate actors, Siddiqui warned that future conflicts could be cyber based and that Pakistan needs to deter potential attacks.
“The government is cognizant of the security threats and working on a plan to establish a Cyber Security Authority to deal with any such kind of threats,” he said.
In 2016, facing an uptick in cyber incidents, Pakistan ratified the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, which included proposals to create, as other countries have, computer emergency response teams.