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Pakistan developing WhatsApp alternative to secure govt communications

Federal Minister Aminul Haq says the app is aimed at providing government officials a safe communication platform.
The app will initially provide a secured chat and audio call facilities.
It will be mandatory for all the government employees to use the app for official purpose.

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to provide government officials a secure and seamless communication platform, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication have developed a digital messaging app named “Beep Pakistan”.

The development came amid calls for safe communication channels between the government functionaries following a revelation that more than 50,000 numbers were targeted through Israel-made surveillance software by its client governments in different countries which are hostile towards journalists, activists and political opponents.

In a tweet, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Syed Aminul Haq said that the app will initially provide a secured chat and audio call facilities, adding that video call facility will also be available on the app soon.

He maintained that the app is aimed at providing government officials a safe communication platform.

According to the Ministry of IT and Telecom, ‘Beep Pakistan’ app was undergoing in-house trial, adding that the platform will be launched officially within few months. It will be mandatory for all the government employees to use the app for official purpose.

Israeli spyware

It is pertinent to mention here that India had targeted a phone which was earlier in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s use through an Israeli firm’s malware called Pegasus, a global investigation had revealed, igniting fears of widespread privacy and rights abuses.

As reported by an independent Israeli publication Haaretz, several Pakistani officials, Kashmiri freedom fighters, Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and even an Indian supreme court judge had been targeted, the publication said.

Sources had informed TTI News that India tried to tap the Federal Cabinet members’ calls and messages through the spyware, prompting Pakistan to develop new software for its federal ministers.

Following the development, a high-level meeting of the civil and military leadership had been called which would decide a future course of action against India’s spying attempt.

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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