Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry, has called out India after reports emerged of its use of Israeli software to spy on journalists, political opponents, and politicians.
In his tweet on Monday, Chaudhry called it a dangerous practice by the Indian government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Extremely concerned on news reports emerging from @guardiannews that Indian Govt used Israeli software to spy on Journalists, political opponents, and politicians, unethical policies of #ModiGovt have dangerously polarised India and the region… more details are emerging,” said Fawad Chaudhry in a statement.
Extremely concerned on news reports emerging from @guardiannews that Indian Govt used Israeli software to spy on Journalists,political opponents and politicians,unethical policies of #ModiGovt have dangerously polarised India and the region… more details are emerging
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) July 19, 2021
According to a report published in The Guardian, the phone numbers of 40 Indian journalists appeared in a leaked list of “potential targets for surveillance,” with some successfully snooped on using spy software developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, according to a Sunday news report.
The leaked data includes the numbers of journalists working with top Indian media organs, according to the Indian news website The Wire, which reported the surveillance was done by an “unidentified agency” using NSO’s Pegasus spyware.
“Independent digital forensic analysis conducted on 10 Indian phones whose numbers were present in the data showed signs of either an attempted or successful Pegasus hack,” said the report.
The website was among a consortium of news outlets that reported the story on Sunday. The leaked records were initially accessed by Paris-based Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International and were then shared with news outlets.
British daily The Guardian reported the editor of The Financial Times is one of more than 180 editors, investigative reporters, and other journalists around the world who were selected as possible candidates for surveillance by government clients of surveillance firm NSO Group.
The story of the Indian government using the spy data along with the Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s confession that the Narendra Modi government “ensured” that Pakistan remained on the “grey list” has led to serious questions on the integrity of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The recent events have activated the role of the Foreign Office of Pakistan and have brought Indian policies into question. The narrative of Pakistan has certainly gained more relevance and credibility within the past two days.