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PTI plans to contest notification granting ISI phone tapping powers

Islamabad: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has announced plans to legally challenge the government’s decision to grant the Inter-Services Intelligence authority to monitor citizens’ phone calls in the name of national security.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Omar Ayub, stated that he would contest the notification through his lawyer, Babar Awan, arguing that it violates constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the constitution.

The federal government recently approved a circular allowing designated ISI officers, not below grade 18, to intercept and trace calls and messages under Section 54 of the Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act 1996. This move is purportedly aimed at preventing threats to national security.

Ayub criticized the decision, warning that those sanctioning such surveillance measures could themselves become targets. He further alleged that political figures including Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Maryam Nawaz would potentially face legal repercussions under this new law, possibly leading to their imprisonment.

The notification issued by the Ministry of Information emphasized the government’s prerogative to prioritize national security interests over telecommunications regulations, enabling ISI officers to conduct surveillance as deemed necessary.

The PTI’s challenge underscores growing concerns over privacy rights and governmental overreach in Pakistan.

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