ISLAMABAD: The Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS) held a seminar on Cyber and Space: Opportunities and Challenges for Pakistan at Serena Hotel, on 11th December 2019. The event was attended by senior serving and retired officials, diplomats, and academics, besides a large number of the general public. The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, in his opening remarks said that there are continuous developments in scientific knowledge, but their practical applications are largely under-utilized. Highlighting the importance of cyberspace, the Minister stated that it is an indispensable aspect of modern life. In today’s digital world, the cyber technologies augmented by the services provided by space applications are not only vital to the needs of common citizens but also to commercial, administrative,social and security needs of any state.
President CASS, Air Chief Marshal (retired) Kaleem Saadat said that cyber warfare is an emerging phenomenon in international relations with state orchestrated computer network attacks occurring with increasing frequency and scale. He also stated that countries considered access to space to be their right and that the involvement of private-sector companies is providing low-cost access to space.
Chairman Strategic Policy Planning Cell, Dr. Moeed Yusuf, who was the Guest of Honor, appreciated the role of CASS in creating awareness on issues related to cyber and space. In his remarks, he said that the ability of countries to invest in cyber and space was going to be very different depending on their economic prowess. He posed two challenges: how will the world be brought together to co-operate on avoiding the massive devastation that space and cyber could have for human-kind, and what are the legal regimes internationally and domestically to manage this space?
In his keynote address, Ambassador (Retd) Zamir Akram, while highlighting the ongoing military developments related to space, underscored the importance of building a credible space deterrence that could secure Pakistan’s space-based assets in the future. Chairman SUPARCO in his presentation provided an overview of Pakistan’s space program; Air Marshal (Retd) Waseem Uddin shared his views on the significance and benefits of a space program.
The second session covered cyber aspects with different speakers sharing their views on cyber realities and its disruptive potential, challenges for Pakistan, and dynamics of cyber and space economics.
In his concluding remarks, President CASS once again highlighted deficiencies at the national level that must be addressed on priority, to ensure that Pakistan is not left behind in this field, and socio-economic benefits of new technologies are made available to the common public. In the end, he thanked the Chief Guest, the speakers and all the participants for engaging proactively in the discussions.