6,856 phones tapped in May, ISI tells SC

Published: June 3, 2015
SHARES
Email
DESIGN: MUHAMMAD SUHAIB

DESIGN: MUHAMMAD SUHAIB

DESIGN: MUHAMMAD SUHAIB Three-judge bench reveals 6523 phone numbers tapped in February, 6819 in March and 6742 in April. PHOTO COURTESY: THE FRIDAY TIMES

ISLAMABAD: The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) told the apex court on Wednesday that it tapped 6,856 phones across the country in the month of May.

In compliance of the court’s May 22 order, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti (DAG) submitted a classified report before the three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, in the Supreme Court (SC) detailing the number of phones tapped in the past four months.

The bench revealed at least 6,523 phone numbers were tapped in the February, 6,819 in March, 6,742 in April and 6,856 in May after going through the classified report submitted.

Hearing a 19-year-old suo motu case, the top court had sought a reply from federal government regarding the law under which phone calls are tapped by intelligence agencies. It directed Bhatti to furnish a concise statement in this regard within three weeks.

Read: Spying on calls: SC asks govt about law on phone tapping

The apex court summoned a responsible officer of ISI along with DAG to the chamber to decide if the proceedings of the case should be carried out in a chamber or not, keeping the sensitivity of the matter into consideration.

“We cannot keep this matter under the carpet as these are the secret rights of the people, which should not be violated,” Nisar said. “If the agencies are legally authorised to tap the phones then the court has no objection. However, if the agency officials are doing it without any legal authority then it is not right.”

The bench also asked Barrister Abdul Hafiz Pirzada, who was present in the courtroom, to assist into the matter to which Pirzada agreed.

After returning the report to DAG, he was asked by the SC to appear before the court along with the ISI officer in the next hearing.

During the last hearing, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had told the court that it was tapping 5,594 phone numbers across the country.

Read: Over 5,000 phones being tapped by IB, SC told

In 1996, then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah took notice of the recording of phone calls by the intelligence agencies after a spying device was found connected to his phone.

Later, former president (late) Farooq Ahmed Leghari’s counsel – during the Benazir Bhutto dismissal case proceedings –cited before the Supreme Court phone tapping of judges by the Benazir regime as a major justification for her government’s ouster.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (6)

  • Ahsan
    Jun 3, 2015 - 3:47PM

    I don’t see any problem with this. Tapping phone calls is same as capturing secret documents. That’s what this secret intelligence job is all about. If information is not provided readily then it has to be acquired by hook or by crook. This happens everywhere in the world. Interestingly, those who are not involved in any wrongdoings need not worry! However, some of the times privacy is intruded which unfortunately is unavoidable.

    Legal barriers couldn’t stop even CIA in the US from tapping phones and violating their national laws. Either this should be legally allowed or any secret job like this should cease to exist.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Jun 3, 2015 - 4:04PM

    I don’t see any problem with this. Tapping phone calls is same as capturing secret documents. That’s what this secret intelligence job is all about. If information is not provided readily then it has to be acquired by hook or by crook. This happens everywhere in the world. Interestingly, those who are not involved in any wrongdoings need not worry! However, some of the times privacy is intruded which unfortunately is unavoidable.

    Legal barriers couldn’t stop even CIA in the US from tapping phones and violating their national laws. Either this should be legally allowed or any secret job like this should cease to exist!Recommend

  • Gul
    Jun 3, 2015 - 10:57PM

    @Ahsan Its unbeliebably naieve that you are ready to give up your freedom to privacy so readily…
    Intelligence agencies should not be above the law, unless we want to be Stallan’s Russia or similar regimes. Intelligence agencies must always seek warrant from courts to tap or collect information on Pakistan citizens.Recommend

  • Jun 4, 2015 - 4:35AM

    As Dr Moeed Peerzada said repeatedly in his talk-show; phone calls are tapped without certain criteria and as there is no sophisticated system of handling this so it may lead to individuals security threat. You are talking to others and their security compromise as well. It means you are just a time bomb, when ringing some, actually you start ticking. Privacy of individual should be respected and should not compromised in the name of national interest and security system. This will not help, instead this will lead to more problems. Our policy maker should understand this.Recommend

  • Kam
    Jun 4, 2015 - 4:59AM

    There was a headline in uk news paper that British agencies and police tapped almost 800,000 phones and emails in 2 years. 93% requests were approved and you can guess that most of these intercepts were on muslim population. So just 7000 intercepts by ISI in a country where almost everybody is muslim means that ISI is under performing by far.Recommend

  • Imran
    Jun 4, 2015 - 7:49AM

    @Gul .
    We must be worried only if we have done some thing wrong !Recommend

More in Pakistan