ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday notified a 12-member high-powered committee, comprising federal ministers and heads of intelligence agencies, to oversee a probe into the security breach at PM House and come up with a foolproof security plan to plug such leaks in future.

“The committee was principally constituted in the last federal cabinet meeting, but its notification was issued on Tuesday,” a senior official in the Cabinet Division told Dawn.

This is the second committee constituted on the issue. The previous committee consisted of officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau. This committee is, in fact, investigating the matter and has already debugged the PM House, restricted the movement of its staffers, and also barred them from carrying their mobile phones inside the building.

According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division on Tuesday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah will head the committee, comprising Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, Communications Minister Asad Mehmood, IT Minister Aminul Haque, chiefs of the ISI and IB, and the cabinet’s secretary.

One technical expert each from the Pakistan Telecom Authority, Federal Investigation Agency, and the ISI will also be part of the committee along with the secretary of the National Information Technology Board.

According to the terms of reference (ToR), the committee will be responsible for overseeing and reviewing the cyber security breach at the PM Office and ensuring that it covered all aspects of the matter within seven days.

“[It will] review the existing cyber security protocols of the Prime Minister House/Office and suggest immediate measures and action plan to develop foolproof security systems and digital eco-system that insulates the cyberspace of PM Office/House from all kinds of intrusion [in seven days],” the ToR said.

The committee will also revisit the existing e-safety and cyber security procedures and guidelines, broadly evaluate the existing capability and vulnerabilities of the government departments, and reassess the risks associated with various electronic gadgets, such as tablets, smartphones, WiFi, and other cyber devices.

The committee will also suggest measures to develop the resilience of government offices against cyber attacks.

The prime minister has also instructed the committee to suggest recommendations to protect sensitive data of important ministries within 15 days and draft a legal framework for a secure cyber environment of government offices.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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