ISLAMABAD - Hearing an 18-year-old suo motu case, the Supreme Court Wednesday sought explanation from the federal government within three weeks to inform under what law the phone calls are being tapped.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Mushir Alam heard the case. Former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had taken the suo moto of phone tapping in 1996.

The court directed Deputy Attorney General Sajjid Illyas Bhatti to contact the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) regarding the matter and get the details about phone tapping and under what law they are doing this.

Justice Saqib Nisar questioned under which law the intelligence agencies whether military or civil are tapping the phones, and whose phones are being tapped?

When the (late) Benazir Bhutto’s first government was toppled at that time the issue of phone tapping of politicians and government officials had come to surface. The agencies are often accused of tapping the phone of journalists, government officials and politicians.

Intelligence Bureau Director General Aftab Sultan in January this year had informed the Senate Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures that till now neither of any parliamentarian’s or journalist’s phone talks were recorded. He told that neither the former prime minister nor the present one ever issued any direction to record phone talks of any person.