By Muneeb Imran Shaikh GISPP Member.
GlSPP recently arranged a Panel Discussion to understand Pakistan’s Cyber landscape in terms of the legal and regulatory framework and governance pertaining to Cybersecurity. The Panel Discussion featured distinguished panellists in key leadership positions from the Financial and Telecommunication Sector in Pakistan.
The Panel discussion was hosted and Led by Muneeb Imran Shaikh who is a Cybersecurity Strategy and Governance Consultant distinguished Panelists included:
- Jawad Khalid Mirza– CISO Askari Bank and Chairman Cybersecurity Forum Pakistan Banking Association.
- Ali Imran– CISO Bank Islami
- Tauseef Aslam– Business Security Officer, Telenor Pakistan and Emerging Asia.
Our distinguished guests had a consensus that Pakistan has seen a significant rise in technology adoption in the past decade in general and COVID-19, in particular, has played the role of a catalyst in Pakistan’s journey towards digital transformation.
While it is heartening to see that ways of doing business are being transformed in Pakistan and there is a bright and vibrant startup market which exists in Pakistan but we also need to address the challenges which are associated with it, particularly in relevance to Cybersecurity.
Mr. Jawad Khalid Mirza who is also the Chairman of the Cybersecurity Forum for Pakistan Banking Association shared his views and valuable experiences about the journey of cybersecurity in Pakistan from its early days till now. He reiterated that even though cybersecurity is considered an important element for the overall growth and sustainability of businesses and is often given attention by the executive leadership in decision-making, however, emphasized the need to address cybersecurity challenges in a more proactive and innovative manner with an overall strategic approach.
Mr. Ali Imran shared his experiences and insights on the impact of the regulatory oversight enforced through Pakistan’s State Bank for cybersecurity and how it has enabled an environment for the financial sector to prioritize cybersecurity along with other regulatory requirements.
Similar views were echoed by our panellist Mr. Tauseef Aslam who highlighted the fact that regulatory oversight in the Telecommunication sector is playing its role to address the cybersecurity concerns however significant progress needs to be made to address Pakistan’s long-term and immediate cybersecurity concerns.
Our panellists highlighted that while Pakistan’s Financial and telecommunication sectors are able to address cybersecurity due to their contractual obligations or regulatory frameworks, they emphasized the need to have an overarching National Cybersecurity Framework which enacts the requirements to be applied across all the sectors including financial, telecommunications and other startups which are an important factor to Pakistan’s economic growth and stability.
Mr. Ali Imran highlighted the concerns around the lack of cybersecurity applications in the OT sector and new services providers like Ride-sharing providers, food delivery providers etc.
Our panellists also emphasized the importance of finalizing and enacting Pakistan’s Data Protection Act which was initially drafted in 2018 by Pakistan’s Ministry of IT & Telecommunications (MoITT). The Updated Draft can be downloaded from MoITT Website.
The National CyberSecurity Policy draft can be downloaded as well from this link.
The session was concluded with a consensus among the panellists that Pakistan needs to work towards establishing an overarching National Cybersecurity Framework along with its Data Protection/Privacy Framework and also ensure to establish its effective enforcement mechanisms.
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