PTI to challenge government's decision permitting ISI to tap phones

Omar Ayub warns move could backfire and may have great consequences

News Desk July 09, 2024
PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insad (PTI) has announced its intention to challenge the government's notification which granted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to intercept and trace calls in the “interest of national security”.

Earlier today, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication authorised the intelligence wing to tap phones, stating that this authority was granted under Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996.

The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Omar Ayub Khan noted that the government, via SRO 1005 (I)/2024 issued a notification allowing the ISI to tap any person's phone conversation on the pretext of "national security".

He slammed the government, saying, "Only a fascist government would grant an intelligence agency complete authority to tap citizens' phones.

"Shehbaz Sharif has practically cut his own throat with this decision," the PTI leader alleged, declaring that the move could backfire and may have great consequences.

He further condemned the decision stating that, "This SRO will be the tool the ISI uses to blackmail and subjugate all politicians and media persons, including Bilawal Bhutto, Asif Zardari, and Maryam Nawaz."

The PTI leader announced his intention to challenge the notification in court through his lawyer, Dr Babar Awan.

"This SRO is unconstitutional and against the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution," he protested.

The government's notification read, "In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 54 … the federal government in the interest of national security and in the apprehension of any offence, is pleased to authorise the officers not below the rank of grade 18 to be nominated from time to time by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to intercept calls and messages or to trace calls through any telecommunication system as envisaged under Section 54 of the Act."

In December, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was informed during a hearing on a case concerning audio leaks that the government had not authorized any intelligence agency to tap audio conversations


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