ISI admits tapping 7,000 phones in May


Islamabad: Substantiating the alleged encroachment of privacy by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, it was revealed that the agency tapped near 7000 phones in the month of May. The information was disclosed in the Supreme Court yesterday during the hearing of an old case regarding the power of spy agencies to tap telephones.

Dawn reported that Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sajid Ilyas Bhatti submitted a sealed envelope in court. After examining the document, the court stated in its order that the spy agency had tapped 6,523 phone numbers in Feb, 6,819 in March, 6,742 in April and 6,856 in May. It was not revealed that whose numbers have been tapped and what sort of information was revealed.

The classified report was furnished on behalf of the ISI by the DAG in compliance with a May 22 direction, when the law officer had presented another report prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) suggesting that it had tapped 5,594 phone numbers across the country.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard a 19-year-old suo motu case, initiated by former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah in 1996. Shah had taken notice of a device found attached with his telephone by certain spy agencies.
Justice Saqib observed that the matter had been pending since 1996 and that even judges and chief justices’ phones were recorded during that period.

The judge also recalled that the court, while taking notice of the matter, had asked to submit data on the total number of phones tapped and to inform it under which law these were being recorded.

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