Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was a potential target of the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware programme by clients of the NSO Group cyberespionage firm, media reports claimed on Monday. The collaborative efforts by an international media consortium on an investigation into a data leak showed that at least one number once used by Prime Minister Khan was on the list of people whose phones were targeted, Dawn newspaper reported.
It was not clear if Prime Minister Khan’s phone was actually hacked, it added. It was also not clear how many other people from Pakistan were on the list, which according to The Washington Post had more than a hundred phone numbers from Pakistan.
The report was published by some prominent international publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde, as media partners to an investigation conducted by Paris-based media non-profit organisation Forbidden Stories and rights group Amnesty International into a leaked list of more than 50,000 phone numbers from across the world that are believed to have been the target of surveillance through Pegasus software of Israeli surveillance company NSO Group.
Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that he was extremely concerned by news reports of the use of spyware programme to hack phones.
Commenting on the report, Human Rights Minister Shireen linked it with Israel and said, “NSO apparently gets approval from Israeli government for sales so linkages clear!”