ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Monday said that some elements wanted to make the country hostage and impose their own agenda through violence and extremism.

Inaugurating Pakistan’s first-ever National Centre for Cyber Security (NCCS) at the Air University, he said that digital economy was a new platform for the world and the inauguration of the centre was his dream which came true. He also said that Pakistan was better than other countries in the field of cyber technology and digital economy.

The minister said that a coward attacked him on May 6 but the saviour was more powerful than the killer. He said that they would neither be cowed down with such attacks nor step back and the war against terrorism will continue till its logical end. He said the bullet in his body always reminded him that they have to get rid of society from hatred.

“In 2013, no place in the country including worship places, bazaars and public places were safe from the terrorists but today, Pakistan has broken the backbone of terrorists,” he said. Ahsan said the country was created to become victorious in this regard. “We have transformed ourselves from the victims to victorious in this war on terror and we have started our journey of victory now,” he said.

The minister said that economic development in the country could not be attained very quickly rather it was a Test match. He said the economy was much better now than in the past. He said that though Pakistan was making development in the field of economic development “we are still behind from the other world at this front”. He said that economic development was the need of the nation rather than defence equipment. He said that every nation of the world has to face challenges.

The minister went on to say that now the world was taking Pakistan as the emerging economy rather than declaring it as a dangerous country. “Five years ago, we were facing 18 to 20 hours load-shedding but today electricity is available for the same period of time,” he said.

He said that due to bad security conditions of the country, investors were moving abroad from Karachi but today people loved to live in Karachi. He said that there was a change in the country but “we are not successful in portraying the better image of the country at international front.”

Air University Vice-Chancellor Air Vice Marshal (retd) Faaiz Ameer welcomed the minister for his participation in the inauguration ceremony despite his injury in a gun attack. He urged the need to protect the cyberspace and added that now there were reports that elections had been influenced through cyberspace He said that there were new inventions in the cyber world with each passing day and that establishment of the centre was a right step in the right direction.

According to a statement issued by the Air University, the NCCS aims to become the leading hub of innovation and scientific research to develop tools and technology to protect Pakistan’s cyberspace and knowledge transfer to local economy and training. The national centre will comprise a number of affiliated labs at various universities, including Air University Islamabad, Bahria University Islamabad, Lahore University of Management Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Information Technology University Lahore, NED University Karachi, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Peshawar, University of Engineering & Technology Peshawar, University of Technology Nowshera, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, and University of Engineering and Technology Taxila, across the country with the headquarter located at Air University Islamabad.