IB is not involved in taping of parliamentarians’ phone calls. DG Aftab Sultan

ISLAMABAD ( BMZ REPORT )

IB DG Aftab Sultan told the committee that the bureau works under the authority granted by the government to protect state interest and is not involved in taping of parliamentarians’ phone calls. Listening to the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) point of view on recording of parliamentarians’ phones calls, the Senate Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the non-appearance of directors general of ISI and MI, and directed them to appear in next meeting. The committee took up the privilege motion moved by Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel in the sitting of the Senate on February 12 regarding the taping of telephone calls of parliamentarians by the intelligence agencies as reported in the media. IB DG Aftab Sultan told the committee that the bureau works under the authority granted by the government to protect state interest and is not involved in taping of parliamentarians’ phone calls. Committee Chairman Lt Col (r) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said this is a sensitive issue and absence of minister and secretary of the Ministry of Interior and directors general of the ISI and MI is tantamount to not accepting the supremacy and dignity of parliament. “Absence of DGs of ISI and MI is regrettable,” said chairman of the committee Tahir Mashhadi. “We do not have any personal enmity with anyone but recording public representative telephone calls is a sensitive issue”. He said spy agencies are respectable, but recording parliamentarians phone calls, creating differences among ministers, and distribution of CDs among government departments is a very serious issue. “All these departments were formed under the constitution, therefore, parliament is supreme, and prime minister and government departments all are answerable to it,” Mashhadi said. He added that parliament can demand any document and summon any one.  In a democracy, parliamentary decision will not be challenged anywhere, the committee maintained. It said the departments can clarify their positions if someone brings allegations against them. Mashhadi said that ISI and MI DGs are not exempted from appearance in the committee. “If telephone calls are recorded in best interest of the country, we don’t have any objection but the nation should be informed about it,” he said. The chairman said the bureaucracy must respect parliamentarians. Meanwhile, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said strict action will be taken against the bureaucrats for their absence. “National security is the responsibility of the state but it should be under proper law,” Mushahid said. He said Pakistani forces and agencies are one of the best in the world. “If there is any allegation against them, they should clarify it.” Speaking on the occasion Senator Jafar Iqbal said democracy should be allowed to flourish in the country because it was achieved after great efforts. 

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