Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's number, which was earlier in his use, was tapped as a target by India targeted via an Israeli firm's malware, Haaretz reported Monday, citing a global investigation.
Several Pakistani officials, Kashmiri freedom fighters, Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and even an Indian supreme court judge were targeted, the publication said.
Sources informed Geo News that India tried to tap the Federal Cabinet members' calls and messages through the spyware, prompting Pakistan to develop new software for its federal ministers.
Following the development, a high-level meeting of the civil and military leadership was called that will decide a future course of action against India's spying attempt.
Reacting to the revelations, Pakistan's Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said he was "extremely concerned" by the reports. "Unethical policies of Modi government have dangerously polarized India and the region," he tweeted.
Pakistan military and civilian leadership called upon a meeting after surprising revelations that India has been involved in spying and recording phone calls and messages of Prime Minister Imran Khan and cabinet members through Israeli phone-malware software.
Sources believe that Pakistani authorities consulted to launch a new application for cabinet members to secure the information and matters being discussed within the government officials, that too on the pattern of WhatsApp. Pakistan is preparing a plan and a course of action after India tried to tap on the phones of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Cabinet ministers with the help of Israeli spy-malware Pegasus, sources say.
According to BBC, the Pegasus targets included: Arab royal-family members, 600+ politicians/ government officials, 64 business executives, 189 journalists, 85 human-rights activists and 50,000 phone numbers leaked.
Forbidden Stories - a Paris-based journalism nonprofit - and Amnesty International had access to a leak of more than 50,000 records of phone numbers that NSO clients selected for surveillance. The leak was shared with Haaretz and 16 other news organizations worldwide that have worked collaboratively to conduct further analysis and reporting over past months.
The extent of the spyware - Pegasus - use was reported by The Washington Post, the Guardian, Le Monde and other news outlets who collaborated on an investigation into a data leak.
According to The Post, more than 1,000 phone numbers in India appeared on the surveillance list while hundreds were from Pakistan, including the one PM Imran once used.
One of the organizations, The Washington Post, said the Pegasus spyware licensed by the NSO Group was also used to target phones belonging to two women close to Jamal Khashoggi, a Post columnist murdered at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2018, before and after his death.
The Post said the list was shared with the news organizations by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, and Amnesty International. The newspaper said the total number of phones on the list that were actually targeted or surveilled was unknown.
The Post said 15,000 of the numbers on the list were in Mexico and included those of politicians, union representatives, journalists and government critics.
The list reportedly included the number of a Mexican freelance journalist who was murdered at a carwash. His phone was never found, and it was not clear if it had been hacked.
The Post said the numbers on the list were unattributed, but the media outlets participating in the project were able to identify more than 1,000 people in more than 50 countries.
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