Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz said on Monday that "puppet" Prime Minister Imran Khan should have "some courage" to question the country's top spy agency - Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) - as to why it is tapping his telephone calls.
Her remarks came in response to Prime Minister Khan’s recent disclosure that he was aware that the agencies tap his phone calls.
"This puppet and selected premier Imran even does not have the courage to ask the ISI as why it is taping his calls. He should tell the ISI that it is not the work of the institution that comes under the prime minister," said Maryam, the daughter of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
"The ISI taps phone of the prime minister and others. This is not new news for me. If any guts left in this puppet (Imran Khan) he should take on the ISI on this matter,” she said.
She is leading Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in absence of her father Nawaz Sharif who has been living in London since November 2019. Sharif’s younger brother and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), leaving it to Maryam to lead the party.
Khan in a recent interview with a local TV channel had said, "The ISI and the IB (Intelligence Bureau) know whatever I do and with whom I talk to on the telephone."
When asked if he had no issue with the agencies tapping his phone, Khan said: "It happens all over the world. Even the CIA does the same in the US."
The prime minister was of the view that the agencies do such things as they are responsible for providing security to the heads.
"The ISI knows as to whom I will be calling and why I am calling. The ISI also knows as to who has taken money out of the country," he said.
Khan said the Pakistan Army knows everything about him.
The ISI is Pakistan's powerful spy agency. In 1950, it was officially given the task of safeguarding Pakistani interests and national security, inside and outside the country.
Sharif, the 70-year-old supreme leader of the PML-N who was ousted from power in 2017 by the apex court on graft charges, had last month for the first time directly named Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for interfering in the general elections of 2018 to ensure the victory of Khan.
However, the Army has denied meddling in the country''s politics. Prime Minister Khan also denies that the Army helped him win the election in 2018.
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.