Committee to probe 'source' of PMO leaks

Discussion expected to centre on the difference between ‘bugging’ and ‘cyber leak’

Zafar Bhutta October 06, 2022


The inquiry committee on audio leaks will start probing key questions on Thursday (today) related to the status of the source of audio leaks of conversations in the Prime Minister’s House (PMO).

The meeting of the committee chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was scheduled to be held here in the interior ministry on Wednesday but will be held today.

The key discussion is expected to centre on the crucial difference between ‘bugging’ and ‘cyber leak’.

It is pertinent to note that debugging is regularly carried out at all sensitive government offices. However, there was a chance that some advance mobile-based applications were used to record the discussions of the incumbent and the former prime minister.

Meanwhile, talking to the media the minister for IT and Telecom, Syed Aminul Haque said that the matter was serious and it has two implications – political and technical.

“We will discuss the technical aspect in the first meeting and that includes determining if it was bugging or cyber security breach,” Mr Haque said, adding that apparently it was “not a hacking and it was also not taping of the telephone call”.

However, the minister said that the details would be clear after the technical experts belonging to the security establishment as well as the ministry give their input on the issue.

Apart from five ministers, the committee includes DG ISI, DG IB, technical experts of PTA, FIA and the secretary National Telecommunication and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB).

It may be noted here that the ministerial committee has been formed despite the fact that a high-level department NTISB exists within the Cabinet Division and its functions include formulating and issuing policies and directives for ensuring security in the use of ICT services in armed forces and all city departments of the country, as well as periodically review national security linked with the expansion of ICT services in the country and advise the government accordingly.

The Chairman of NTISB is the Cabinet secretary and its members are Secretary IT, DGI/DG (Tech) ISI, additional secretary Ministry of Defence, SO-in-C -Sigs Dte, GHQ, DG-C41 Dte, GHQ, Chairman NADRA, Chairman NTC, Chairman PTA, Chief Scientist & Scientific Adviser DESTO, DG Intelligence Bureau, Director of Signals NHQ, Assistant Chief of Air Staff AHQ (Electronics), Vice Chairman FAB, Addl DG DCS.

The NTISB can also co-opt 10 members including Financial Advisor Cabinet Division, Member (Technical) PTCL, Director General FIA, Director General Met office, Chairman KRL, Chairman SUPARCO, DG Foreign Affairs, DG Pakistan Computer Bureau, Chief Engineer Pakistan Railways Telecommunications and representatives from Punjab, Sindh, K-P and Balochistan.

Incidentally, to cover the political aspect of audio leaks the ministerial committee has members belonging to the key coalition partners including the minister for climate change who belongs to the PPP and the minister for communications who is from the JUI-F although their ministries have no relations with the audio leaks.

Incidentally, the committee was notified by the Cabinet Division on September 30, but it has been given a deadline of seven days to oversee and review the investigation of the cyber security breach and also to review the existing cyber security protocols in the PM’s Office/House and suggest immediate measures and action plan to develop fool-proof security systems and digital eco-system to insulate the cyberspace of the PM office.


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