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Former spymaster rules out ban on phone tapping in Pakistan

ANI | Updated: Oct 11, 2022 23:10 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 11 (ANI): Former spymaster ruled out a ban on phone tapping in Pakistan after audio leaks from the Pakistani Prime Minister's Office sparked a controversy.
"Phone tapping can't be stopped simply for security reasons, but intelligence agencies' procedures could be regulated to check issues like Audio Leaks," said a former spymaster to The News International.
Talking to The News, he said that phone tapping is done by agencies all around the world for security reasons but what we lack here are the regulations.
"We have no regulations, no laws governing the agencies," the source said, adding that the issue of phone tapping needs to be discussed in-depth to find a solution where the surveillance on the problems of national security is protected. Still, there is no space for use of phone-tapping material for political purposes or to malign someone, reported The News International.
According to sources, IB DG Dr Shoaib Suddle had taken this initiative with regard to the legislation. He carried out this exercise being IB chief in the early days of the Zardari-Gilani government standing out as the first spy chief who volunteered parliamentary oversight drafting a law in this respect after examining the legislation in other democracies.

After his departure from the IB, the draft law prepared under his watch went 'missing', the sources said.
On Monday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said that the AudioLeaks are a serious breach of national security as they call into question the entire security of the Prime Minister's Office and House.
He added that his secure line at his residence was also bugged as the PM. He announced that the PTI intends to go to court to establish the authenticity of leaks and then form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate which intelligence agency is responsible for the bugging and who is leaking out the audio many of which, he said, are edited or doctored, reported The News International.
The former premier said that this is critical because sensitive security issues are and have been illegally recorded and subsequently hacked, implying confidentiality of Pakistan's national security has been exposed globally.
Interestingly during his premiership, Imran Khan defended the phone tapping by the agencies in a private TV interview. Pakistan is among those few democratic countries where intelligence agencies operate without any regulation. No laws exist to regulate these agencies or call into question their performance.
Pakistan's premier agencies, the ISI and IB, were formed through executive orders soon after the creation of Pakistan but left without any legislation to govern their actions.
At the moment, they function through Standards Operating Procedures (SOPs) that have no legal sanctity hence all actions carried out by them don't stand the scrutiny of law. (ANI)