Remarks by the Foreign Secretary : Joint Launch of the Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders by UNODC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (28 January 2022)
UNODC Country Representative, Dr. Jeremy Milsom,
EU Ambassador, H.E. Androulla Kaminara,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon -
At the outset, I would like to welcome you to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for official launch of the Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders.
I congratulate all those who have been engaged in developing this much-needed resource for the law enforcement agencies.
Our special thanks go to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the EU for facilitating and funding this project. I am also grateful to our colleagues from the Ministry of Interior and NACTA for their valuable contributions.
There is no doubt that this guidebook would become an effective resource in the toolkit of practitioners to effectively perform their duties and fight transnational crimes.
Advancements in information-sharing technologies, telecommunication and cyber space have transformed the world. This new age has ushered in new opportunities and possibilities. At the same time, it has brought with it a set of challenges and risks.
While ICT technologies have reduced distances and brought down barriers, they have also facilitated criminals, terrorists and organized criminal groups to take advantage of this borderless and loosely governed space to carry out their illicit activities.
Internet is not only being used to propagate terrorist and extremist ideologies but also to finance, recruit and train criminals for transnational organized crimes, terrorism and predicate offences like money laundering and human and drug trafficking.
Misuse of internet and cyber space by terrorists and other organized criminal groups is one of the biggest challenges to the writ and control of the state in today’s world.
The transnational nature of the cyber space, different and often divergent regulatory frameworks, gaps in technological advancement among countries, and differences in the capacity of the personnel dealing with the security and law enforcement have further increased the risk of more sophisticated and spectacular crimes.
The Government of Pakistan is fully aware of these challenges and developing effective policy response to counter the threats posed by misuse of the cyber space. We remain cognizant of the fact that in order to harness the benefits of the ICT technologies we must enhance our investment in cyber security and focus on increased international cooperation on this issue. Our vision is to modernize our systems, enhance their efficiency, and improve connectivity--for which strengthening cyber security is critical.
The Government of Pakistan has already issued a comprehensive cyber security policy and legal and administrative procedures are being upgraded to plug the gaps in the existing systems and meet the challenges of the future.
For our part, we have made important strides towards achieving digitization of our work at the Foreign Office. In accordance with the vision of the leadership, we have introduced new online platforms, portals, mobile applications and connectivity protocols to not only streamline the business of the government but also improve our service delivery to our diaspora community abroad.
Threats and vulnerabilities in the cyber-space are common to us all. They pose similar challenges to the developed and the developing countries. It is, therefore, important that we build on existing partnerships and enhance our cooperation to address these emerging challenges.
Initiatives such as developing practical guidebooks and toolkits, that are tailor-made according to the needs of specific countries, is an important step in the right direction. It reinforces the idea that robust international cooperation and sustained capacity building efforts of officials and institutions can make a difference in shaping our responses to the challenges of the digital age.
It is gratifying that our Ministries and Departments, both at the Federal and Provincial levels, are cognizant of these challenges and are working to equip themselves with skills and resources to meet the needs of the future.
I hope we will continue to build on this momentum and advance shared objectives in collaboration with friends and international partners.
I once again thank all of you for joining us at the Foreign Office for this important launch.
Thank you all.