Pakistan urges UN to probe India’s ‘spyware use’
This studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel’s NSO Group which features ‘Pegasus’ spyware, on display in Paris on July 21, 2021. Private Israeli firm NSO Group has denied media reports its Pegasus software is linked to the mass surveillance of journalists and rights defenders, and insisted that all sales of its technology are approved by Israel’s defence ministry (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
PAKISTAN on Friday (23) voiced its “serious concern” over media reports about India allegedly eavesdropping on foreigners, including prime minister Imran Khan, using Israeli spyware Pegasus. It urged the UN to thoroughly investigate the matter.
According to reports, Khan was a potential target of the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware programme by clients of the NSO Group cyberespionage firm.
The foreign office (FO) said in a statement, “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.”
The statement also condemned what it called “India’s state-sponsored, continuing and widespread surveillance and spying operations in clear breach of global norms of responsible state behaviour”.
“We are closely following these revelations and will bring the Indian abuses to the attention of appropriate global platforms,” the FO said.
Pakistan also called on the relevant UN bodies to thoroughly investigate the matter, “bring the facts to light, and hold the Indian perpetrators to account”.
India on Monday (19) categorically rejected the allegations linked to the Pegasus snooping row, saying attempts were being made to “malign” Indian democracy.
India’s information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw asserted that illegal surveillance was not possible with checks and balances in the country’s laws.
India, the minister said, has an “established protocol when it comes to surveillance… any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and our robust institutions.”
Indian minister of state for external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday (22) said the story on the alleged snooping through Pegasus is “concocted, fabricated and evidence-less” and that the news reports based on it call for “defamation”.