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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday called on the relevant United Nations bodies to thoroughly investigate India’s use of Israeli spyware against Prime Minister Imran Khan and others. “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 the Foreign Office in a statement.

The use of the software, called Pegasus and developed by Israel’s NSO Group, was reported on by The Washington Post, the Guardian, Le Monde and other news outlets Sunday who collaborated on an investigation into a data leak.

The leak was of a list of up to 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been identified as people of interest by clients of the NSO since 2016, the reports said.

Not all of those numbers were subsequently hacked, and the news outlets with access to the leak said more details about those who were compromised would be released in the coming days.

The FO said that Pakistan, in the strongest possible terms, condemns India’s state-sponsored, continuing and widespread surveillance and spying operations in clear breach of global norms of responsible state behaviour.

“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,” read the statement. It added that the world has seen the true face of the so-called Indian democracy when the reports of EU Disinfo Lab, Indian Chronicle, surfaced earlier last year.

“We are closely following these revelations and will bring the Indian abuses to the attention of appropriate global platforms,” stated the FO.

It added that in view of the gravity of the reports, Pakistan calls on the “relevant UN bodies to thoroughly investigate the matter, bring the facts to light, and hold the Indian perpetrators to account”. According to reports, Pakistani, Chinese and diplomats from other countries in Indian capital appeared on the list of potential targets for phone hacking via the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware. The reports said the numbers of Prime Minister Imran Khan and several of his ambassadors in India appear on the list as potential targets. Dozens of other Delhi-based diplomats and ambassadors are also included, from Iran, Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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