Islamabad : As more purported audio clips featuring leaders of the Pakistan ruling coalition surfaced on Sunday, opposition PTI questioned the security of the Prime Minister’s Office but the government said there was “nothing illegal” in the audio leaks, local media reported.
The opposition leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) questioned the security of the Prime Minister’s Office saying that the audio leaks show the state of the country’s cybersecurity and prove that the ruling coalition came into power to make money, reported Dawn.
“This is a failure of our intelligence agencies, especially the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Obviously, apart from political issues, important discussions on security and foreign issues are now in everyone’s hands,” said PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry.
In the clips which were shared by several PTI leaders today, conversations between PML-N Vice President Maryam, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif were heard.
The first clip purportedly features a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and PM Shehbaz about the country’s finance minister Miftah Ismail, who has reportedly faced criticism from within the party for taking tough economic measures, reported Dawn.
The PML-N vice president has publicly stated that she does not agree with the decision to hike petrol and electricity prices, saying she did not own such decisions, whether her party was in government or not.
“He doesn’t take responsibility…says strange things on TV which people make fun of him for… he doesn’t know what he is doing,” the voice said to be Maryam’s says in the alleged clip.
In response, the voice said to be of PM says, “He clearly cut corners.”
“Uncle, he doesn’t know what he is doing,” Maryam purportedly says, as she wishes for the return of PML-N stalwart Ishaq Dar, who is set to return to the country next week to facilitate PM Shehbaz on the economic front, reported Dawn.
The second clip allegedly features a conversation between the premier, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq about the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the lower house of parliament.
And the third clip was purportedly of a conversation between Maryam and PM Shehbaz regarding the return of Pakistan’s former military leader Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf’s family in June publicly confirmed that he was “going through a difficult stage” where recovery was not possible while Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said Musharraf’s family was in contact with the military regarding his planned return.
He also said that the military leadership believes that the former army chief should return to Pakistan.
Discussing the same in the alleged clip, the voice alleged to be Maryam’s was heard saying that she “sees this coming”, adding that she said the same to Nawaz in a phone call.
“I told him to tweet this. He listened to me immediately,” Maryam allegedly said, adding that the move was “opposed” by several people. She allegedly reasons that showing “magnanimity” in this situation would help the government save face.
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in June had asked the coalition government to facilitate Musharraf if he wishes to return to Pakistan, adding that he does not have any “personal enmity or tussle” with the ex-dictator. His tweet came hours after Gen Iftikhar’s comments were aired in June.
“I have no personal enmity or tussle with Pervez Musharraf. I do not want anyone else to suffer the traumas that I have to endure for my loved ones,” Nawaz tweeted.
A day earlier, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry shared a two-minute-long clip on his Twitter handle, claiming that it shows the PM is putting his family’s business interests before the state’s.
In an over a two-minute audio recording, a voice — said to be that of Shehbaz Sharif — can be heard saying that Maryam Nawaz Sharif had asked him to facilitate her son-in-law Raheel for the import of machinery for a power plant from India, reported Dawn.
“If we do so, we will get a lot of flak when this matter goes to the ECC and cabinet,” the official can be heard saying in the audio clip, as per Dawn.
At this, Prime Minister’s alleged voice can be heard saying: “The son-in-law is very dear to Maryam Nawaz. Tell her very logically about this and then I will talk to her.”
The same voice also agrees with the perception that this would be bad for optics and may cause political trouble, according to the Dawn.
Notably, Maryam Nawaz’s daughter Mehrunnisa married industrialist Chaudhry Munir’s son Raheel in December 2015, reported Dawn.
According to the publication, at the end of the audio clip, there is a mention of former Justice Maqbool Baqir, whose name was being considered as the next head of the National Accountability Bureau. The official is heard conveying to the premier the ‘suggestion’ of two media persons, asking him not to consider the former judge for the slot of NAB chairman, in view of their experience with former NAB chief Javed Iqbal, who was also a retired judge appointed by the PML-N government.
Raising concerns over the leaked audio, the opposition leaders said that the matter was very concerning and required strict action. PTI Chairman Imran Khan, at a rally in Karak, chastised Maryam, alleging that “she is involved in corruption and illegal acts since coming into power.
“Imran said that the leaks had also made it clear that the “PML-N came into power only to make money” and claimed that its whole political dynasty was involved in corruption.