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Wednesday July 24, 2024

PTI announces to challenge phone tapping powers granted to ISI

Omar Ayub warns government of repercussions of move

By Web Desk
July 09, 2024
Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Omar Ayub (centre) speaking to media in Islamabad on July 9, 2024. —Facebook/ OmarAyubKhan.Official
Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Omar Ayub (centre) speaking to media in Islamabad on July 9, 2024. —Facebook/ OmarAyubKhan.Official

ISLAMABAD: Reacting to the government’s move to grant the premier intelligence agency permission to trace people's phone calls viewing a threat to the "national security", Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Omar Ayub Tuesday announced to challenge the government's move.

Terming the tapping of phones unconstitutional and against the basic rights mentioned in the constitution, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said he would challenge the government notification with the help of his party leader and counsel Babar Awan in the court.

The federal government has given its nod to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to intercept and trace calls and messages in the apprehension of an offence against national security.

The federal cabinet has approved the relevant circular allowing a designated officer of the ISI to carry out the tracing of calls under Section 54 of the Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act 1996. However, the officer nominated by the agency cannot be of less than grade 18.

The said section of the Telecommunications Act allows the federal government to authorise any person or persons to intercept calls and messages or to trace calls through any telecommunication system in the interest of national security.

It also states that the government will have preference and priority in the telecommunication system over any licensee for the defence or security of the country against any foreign aggression.

"The federal government in the interest of national security and in the apprehension of any offence is pleased to authorise the officers [...] to be nominated from time to time by ISI to intercept calls and messages or to trace calls through any communication system," read the notification issued by the Ministry of Information on Monday.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader said those giving authority for call tracing would themselves fall victim to it. He also said those authorising the intelligence agency to trace calls would be put behind the bars.

"Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz will also go to the prison because of this law," Ayub said, adding that all of them would be seen pursuing their cases in courts.