ISLAMABAD: Pakistan called on the United Nations to investigate whether India used Israeli-made Pegasus spyware to spy on public figures including Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The prime minister’s phone number was on a list of what an investigation by a group of 17 international media organisations and Amnesty International said were potential surveillance targets for countries that bought the spyware.
Pakistan’s foreign office issued a statement accusing India of “state-sponsored, continuing and widespread surveillance and spying operations in clear breach of global norms of responsible state behaviour.”
“We have noted with serious concern recent international media reports exposing Indian government’s organised spying operations against its own citizens, foreigners as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan, using an Israeli origin spyware,” said Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri.
The spokesman stated that keeping a clandestine tab on dissenting voices is a long-standing textbook ploy of the RSS-BJP regime to commit human rights atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and peddle disinformation against Pakistan.
He noted that the world saw the true face of the so-called Indian “democracy” when the reports of EU Disinfo Lab, Indian Chronicle, surfaced earlier last year. The Foreign Office stated it was closely following these revelations and would bring Indian abuses to the attention of appropriate global platforms.
The Indian government has already faced calls by domestic political opponents to investigate allegations of spying on officials including the main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
Delhi has not responded to the allegations. The investigation published by the media organisations said spyware made and licensed by Israeli company NSO had been used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists around the world, .
At least one number once used by Prime Minister Imran Khan was also targeted by the NSO Group and its Pegasus malware, which is capable of switching a phone’s camera or microphone on and harvesting its data.
The leak consists of more than 50,000 smartphone numbers believed to have been identified as connected to people of interest by NSO clients since 2016, although it was unclear how many devices were actually targeted or surveilled.