Pakistan on Saturday said that it would conduct an investigation over the use of Pegasus malware, which is capable of switching a phone’s camera or microphone on and harvesting its data, against Prime Minister Imran Khan and other senior officials of Pakistan’s military and government and would take legal action against India as well as raise the “deeply concerning” at the international forums.
A report in the Washington Post stated that India was one of the ten countries which have been listed as a client of the NSO Group and its Pegasus malware.
At least one number once used by PM Imran was among the tens of thousands of smartphone numbers, including those of activists, journalists, business executives and politicians from around the world, that were revealed to have been targeted by Israeli spyware.
Read more: India tried to hack PM Imran’s phone
The American publication stated that hundreds of numbers from Pakistan appeared on the Indian surveillance list, including one which was once used by the premier. More than 1,000 Indian numbers were also on the list. The report did not confirm if the attempt on the premier’s number was successful or not.
Israel’s Haaretz reported that several Pakistani officials, Kashmiri freedom fighters, Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, an Indian supreme court judge were targeted.
According to a Pakistani private TV channel, India even tried to tap the federal cabinet members’ calls and messages through the spyware, prompting the Pakistani government to develop new software for the federal ministers.
Last Sunday’s revelations — part of a collaborative investigation by The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde and other media outlets — raise privacy concerns and reveal the far-reaching extent to which the private firm’s software could be misused.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar, who was flanked by Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry, said that the scandal was even bigger than the Panama Papers scandal.
“We consider it [the cyber attack] an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and Pakistan will safeguard it at all cost,” Akbar added.
He said that the government is devising a legal strategy against India and the issue will be raised on international forums such as United Nations and European Union.
PM’s aide said that a team comprising officials from intelligence agencies, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and senior officials of cabinet division would investigate the matter.