ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday formally lodged a protest with the United States over its surveillance of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members.
Earlier, Pakistan had condemned the US National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programme for spying on the PPP in 2010, calling it a violation of international laws and demanded an end the practice.
Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said that the matter was being taken up with the US administration.
"Appropriate measures are being taken to protect our cyber communication from any attack or spying," Aslam said.
Earlier, the PPP had expressed dismay over the revelation that NSA had been spying on the party.
The PPP had also called upon the government to take up the issue at the diplomatic level and had sought guarantees that such violations would not take place in the future.
“Such insensitive operations and unacceptable interference in the affairs of a political party of a sovereign country will serve no purpose except to increase resentment and distrust,” the PPP spokesman had said.
Senator Babar said that those who have violated the norms of responsible behaviour by spying on the political institutions of a sovereign country owe an apology.
According to media reports, declassified documents have revealed that the NSA had been spying on the PPP government in 2010.
However, a US government agency had defended the US National Security Agency’s surveillance programme, which includes spying on foreign banks, political parties and government officials.
The US Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board observed that the programme had allowed the government to collect a greater range of foreign intelligence “quickly and effectively.”
It endorsed the controversial collection of Internet data as not only legal but also effective.
Also read: Reform on some but not all NSA spying
“The programme has led the government to identify previously unknown individuals who are involved in international terrorism,” the agency noted. “It has played a key role in discovering and disrupting specific terrorist plots aimed at the United States and other countries.”
Responding to a question on Narendra Modi's visit to Indian-occupied Kashmir, Aslam said, "Kashmir is a disputed territory and Pakistan does not accept it as a part of India," adding that its accession to India was illegal.
Aslam pointed out that there were 500 Pakistanis serving penalties in Indian jails and demanded for the release of all those who had completed their sentences.
FO spokesperson added that India had violated the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kotli sector last night by unprovoked firing which injured a Pakistan soldier.
Aslam said Pakistan expressed concern over bloodshed in Iraq and expected the Iraqi society to shun violence and unite.
"Pakistani pilgrims in Iraq are safe and in case the situation gets [any] worse, then our embassy would help them out," Aslam said.