Phone-tapping case: ISI requests in-camera hearing

Submits classified report to top court on phones being tapped.

Hasnaat Malik June 04, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has requested the Supreme Court to hold proceedings of the 19-year-old suo motu case regarding phone-tapping behind closed doors.

The agency, through Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, submitted a classified report to the top court on Wednesday, requesting further proceedings of the case be held ‘in-camera’ due to the issue’s sensitive nature.

The report also contained details of phones tapped over the last four months. Some 6,523 phones were tapped in February, another 6,819 in March, 6,742 in April and 6,856 in May, according to the ISI report, the Justice Mian Saqib Nisar-led three judge bench noted in its order.

“We cannot keep this matter under the carpet as it concerns the rights of the people,” Justice Saqib observed during the proceedings. “The court has no objection if these agencies have the legal authority to tap phones, but it is not right if this is being done without lawful authority,” he said.

The bench subsequently resealed the envelope containing the ISI report and returned it to DAG Bhatti, directing him to appear in chamber next week along with a responsible ISI officer to discuss whether proceedings should be held in-camera or not.

The bench also asked lawyer Abdul Hafiz Pirzada, who was present in the courtroom, to assist in this matter. Pirzada expressed his willingness to do so.

The case was initiated in 1996 by then chief justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah after snooping device was found connected to his phone.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2015. 


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