ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has formally lodged a protest with the US ambassador in Islamabad over the reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) of the US had been spying on the PPP in 2010 and demanded making of appropriate amendments for this insensitivity towards the PPP and the people of Pakistan and refrain from its repetition.
Senior party leader Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the formal protest was communicated through a letter addressed by secretary general of the party, former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf , to US Ambassador Richard G Olson in Islamabad on Friday.
Conveying serious disappointment of the party, Raja Pervez Ashraf described the spying as "very grave, unwarranted and totally unacceptable interference" in the affairs of a political party of a sovereign and slammed it as "against the international law" and violating "recognised diplomatic norms", he said.
Cautioning against spying on political parties and interference in the affairs of sovereign countries Raja Pervez Ashraf said that this attitude would "only increase distrust and suspicion already noticeably present in the people of Pakistan towards the government of the United States." The PPP strongly resents and deplores this overbearing attitude of a US government department, it further said.
Following is the text of the PPP letter to the US ambassador: "The Pakistan Peoples is gravely disappointed over the disclosure made in the recently de-classified documents that the National Security Agency of the USA has been spying on the PPP in 2010.
Spying on a political party of Pakistan is a very grave, unwarranted and totally unacceptable interference not only in the affairs of the Party but also in the affairs of a sovereign country which has already been strongly condemned by the party in a press statement by its spokesperson. It is against the international law and violates recognised diplomatic norms.
The party believes that it owes no explanation to any foreign agency. It therefore strongly resents and deplores the overbearing attitude of the NSA in assuming a right to interfere in other countries and their political parties. This attitude of a department of the US government towards a popular Pakistani political party will only increase distrust and suspicion already noticeably present in the people of Pakistan towards the government of the United States.
As secretary general of the party I am constrained to formally lodge this protest in the hope and expectation that the US government will look into it and make appropriate amends. Furthermore, that such insensitivity will not be shown to the PPP and the people of Pakistan in future."
Special Correspondent from Washington adds: Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the US National Security Agency from US digital networks, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
After a four-month investigation, the newspaper found nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.
The Post investigation comes in the wake of reports that NSA surveilled several political parties, including Pakistan People's Party and India's BJP of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Many of them were Americans, the Post said the report placed on its web site. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to US citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimised,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to US citizens or US residents.
Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali, according to the report. At the request of CIA officials, The Post is withholding other examples that officials said would compromise ongoing operations.
Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.