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Pakistan to Improve Diplomatic Security Following Allegations of British Spying
Michael Kitchen
VOA, Islamabad
10 Nov 2003, 14:55 UTC

Pakistan says it is improving security at its diplomatic posts around the world, following allegations that Britain illegally planted listening devices at the Pakistani embassy in London.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan did not specify Monday what new security measures would be implemented, but said the move would cover all of Pakistan's foreign posts.

He says Pakistan was caught off guard by alleged British spying on its London embassy, officially known as the Pakistani High Commission, learning of the allegation through the British newspaper, The Sunday Times.

"The United Kingdom and Pakistan are very close allies and friends so everyone was surprised when this story was published in The Sunday Times," said Mr. Khan.

The newspaper account, published last week, claimed that Britain's counterintelligence agency, MI5, along with law enforcement officials at Scotland Yard, carried out the spying operation.

A later report claims listening devices were planted in the High Commission as early as 2001.

Mr. Khan says the bugging of the mission could have been a rogue operation, conducted without the knowledge of top British government officials.

But he adds that the British foreign office has not commented on the report, and Pakistani inquiries have so far been met with silence. "We have drawn a blank from other parts of the British government," he said. "This is a bit surprising. We would want a response, because we believe that MI5 and the Scotland Yard are not satellites above the British government, they are under the command of the British government."

Mr. Khan says that Pakistani authorities are also conducting their own investigation into the matter.