In a reply submitted to the Supreme Court, the director general (DG) of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has conceded that the agency collected 'details' of the members of the joint investigation team (JIT) investigating the Panamagate case, but denied hacking any individual's social media accounts or harassing their family.
The IB had previously been accused of spying on Bilal Rasool, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan's (SECP) representative in the JIT.
In his reply to the charge, DG IB Aftab Sultan said there was nothing extraordinary about the bureau's activities, claiming that the collection of details on 'important' individuals was a routine matter.
He also rejected the JIT's claim that Bilal Rasool and his wife were harassed by the IB, adding that the 'hacking' claims regarding Rasool's social media accounts were also unfounded.
"The Facebook account of Mr. Bilal Rasool, which is also used by his wife/family, was ostensibly hacked to retireve the contents attached [with the application]... without the consent of Mr. Bilal Rasool or his family," an application by the JIT submitted to the SC earlier had read.
This was done, read the application, "ostensibly through the facilitation of the IB".
The DG IB denied the allegation that the bureau had hacked a Facebook account in the use of JIT member Bilal Rasool and his family members in order to retrieve its contents — which were apparently attached by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's elder son, Hussain Nawaz, in a complaint regarding the JIT's partiality to the SC.
"The IB collects details of all high-level state officials," Sultan stated in his reply. Since the Panamagate case is an issue of national importance, the 'details' of JIT members were collected, he said.
However, IB has not harassed any of the JIT members, nor intervened in their private lives, he added.