ISLAMABAD: In response to President Dr Arif Alvi’s letter to the prime minister, the PM Office has directed the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication to constitute a high-level committee of experts to analyse the “Cyber Threats and Challenges” to the state institutions. The committee, to be headed by the Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication would submit its recommendations to Prime Minister’s Office to proceed further in the matter, according to a President House press release. In his letter, the president had observed that this communication was in continuation of his constant beseeching the opinion makers, decision-makers, politicians and strategists in Pakistan that “cyber power”, being the effective deployment of cyber capabilities by a state to achieve its national objectives”, was an important area where Pakistan needed to work hard and become a significant player. The president emphasised that it was important for Pakistan to deliberate on how to develop and leverage its policy by adopting a multifactorial holistic national approach to harness the cyber power with the objective to reduce the national attack surface. He said it was also essential to attain effective reaction and defence capabilities against any possible intrusions capable of paralysing all institutions, utilities, defence, business, digital supply chain, finance, public services and information control and communication, While dilating, the president identified eight strategic areas .which needed to be seriously deliberated upon as a national concern to safeguard the country against possible cyber threats which include: strengthening and enhancing national cyber defences; controlling and manipulating the information environment for disseminating the country’s point of view in the world and removing extremist material from social media; foreign intelligence collection on national security matters; harnessing national cyber and commercial technologies; destroying or disabling an adversary’s infrastructure in case of attack; defining international and national cyber norms and technical standards; understanding wealth movements in the cyber world, including cryptocurrencies and data breaches and surveilling and monitoring of domestic Groups (Criminal Organizations, Terrorists) through internet traffic and disrupting foreign interferences. The committee would submit its recommendations in order to proceed further in the matter at the earliest. In addition to the letter addressed to the prime minister, the president has also forwarded a report to the relevant institutions to provide a base for developing a cogent cyber power strategy in a wholistic manner and to develop necessary human resources to ensure the country’s brighter future.