The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, chaired by Senator Kauda Babar, convened at the Parliament House.
During the session, the Committee received a comprehensive briefing from the Ministry of IT and Telecom on the National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP) approved in July 2021. The NCSP calls for establishing a three-layered Cyber Security Ecosystem, necessitating regular Information Security Audits for organizations and companies. Senator Afnan Ullah Khan emphasized the importance of penetration testing through ethical hacking, an important step for ensuring data protection. The Ministry officials highlighted the establishment of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to combat cyber threats and stressed the need for public awareness on cyber security in Pakistan. Chairman Senator Kauda Babar expressed concerns about the sale of Pakistani public data on the Dark web and instructed the safeguarding of public data, including that of NADRA and banks, he also offered legislative support if needed.
The Committee also received a briefing from the CEO of IGNITE regarding its initiatives across the country. IGNITE has successfully established eight National Incubation Centers (NICs) in Pakistan, generating Rs 15 Billion in revenue, creating 128 thousand jobs, and incubating over 1400 startups. Senator Kauda Babar commended IGNITE for its role in enhancing the startup ecosystem and urged the establishment of NICs in more cities, especially in Balochistan, to benefit the youth in that region.
Additionally, the Committee was briefed on the NTC infrastructure and services in Sindh and Balochistan. NTC, the official telecom and ICT service provider to the Government of Pakistan, manages 128 thousand connections and has established multiple data centers across the country. Senator Kauda Babar expressed reservations about the high rates and quality of service provided by NTC, urging improvements and offering legislative support, if needed.
The Chairman also lamented the delay in the installation and provision of National Mobile Roaming Services, despite the allocated funding from USF. He directed to expedite the process, especially in Balochistan, to address connectivity issues faced by the people.
The Committee meeting was attended by Senators Afnan Ullah Khan, Rubina Khalid, Sana Jamali, Seeme Ezdi, Sania Nishtar, Shahdat Awan, the Secretary of the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, and CEOs of NTC and IGNITE.