Sir: The recent revelations about the US hacking sensitive computer data and emails of its allies including Pakistan has raised concerns across the board. In the backdrop of this development, the Pakistan National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) on September 26, 2013 issued guidelines to all the government officials on how to protect government business from possible hacking and cyber attacks. The Cabinet Division in a letter written on September 25, 2013 to all the ministries, departments and divisions has asked them to strictly implement the guidelines.
Under the guidelines the most important instruction was prohibiting the government officials and officers from using private emails (free email services) for exchange of official correspondence. In the same course of events the Cyber Crime Bill has also been drafted. In the wake of growing terrorist attacks and threats, the security agencies in Pakistan are seriously considering a strict implementation of this bill once passed by parliament. One hopes that Pakistan starts taking these issues seriously and saves the country from further destruction. In the meantime the guideline that all the official correspondence be conducted through secure emails is being blatantly ignored.