Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “phone was hacked” during former premier Nawaz Sharif’s tenure, as the latter was friends with India’s Narendra Modi, Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said Tuesday.
Modi’s government has been named as a client in the NSO Group’s spyware scandal, a global investigation had revealed.
According to the investigation, India had targeted a number which was earlier in PM Imran Khan’s use through the Israeli firm’s malware, igniting fears of widespread privacy and rights abuses.
The prime minister was selected as potential targets of the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware program by clients of the NSO Group cyberespionage firm.
“Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit journalism organisation, and Amnesty International had access to a leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected as targets by clients of NSO since 2016,” reported the Guardian.
The minister of state, addressing a press conference in Faisalabad, said: “Nawaz Sharif had attended Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony and did not meet [Indian Occupied Jammu and] Kashmir’s Hurriyat leadership.”
Habib said questions were being raised in the country as to why the premier’s “phone was hacked and why was Nawaz Sharif’s included in Mod’s network”.
The state minister, continuing his onslaught against the PML-N supremo, said he has a “history of tapping phones of judges”.
Habib added that Modi had tapped the phones of Pakistani officials through the Israeli NSO Group’s spyware, Pegasus. “Who else might have Nawaz asked for help in this regard [if he had sought Modi’s assistance]?”
The state minister said the government would not let this matter slide adding it would seek answers from those responsible.
The state minister, however, according to Radio Pakistan, had said that investigations into the premier’s phone being targeted were underway and after complete analysis, Pakistan would raise the matter at an appropriate forum.
Responding to a question about the alleged kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter, Habib replied said the matter is under investigation and police is using all resources with the help of law enforcement agencies to probe the matter.
The state minister said PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz had made an inappropriate comment on the alleged abduction of the ambassador’s daughter and she should refrain from making such statements.
Maryam, a day earlier addressing a rally ahead of the polls in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Haveli, had said the Afghan ambassador’s daughter’s alleged abduction was the PTI-led government’s “failure.”
The PTI-led government has never compromised the country’s sovereignty nor it would do so in the future, the state minister said.
He said that PM Imran Khan made it clear at every forum that Pakistan would not let its land be used for the protection of foreign interests.