ISLAMABAD - The controversy over the leaked audio of ex-premier Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi deepened on Monday with the opposition PTI linking the leak with unauthorized phone taping of politicians and the ruling PML-N alleging that it is now clear that the former first lady was behind the “malicious campaign” against the state institutions. The PTI leaders said that a forensic analysis of the audio clip would determine its authenticity but at the same time added that phone taping was illegal and the Supreme Court (SC) should take a suo motu notice of the matter.

On Saturday, an audio clip had gone viral on social media in which Bushra Bibi can be allegedly heard directing the party’s social media head Dr Arsalan Khalid to run a ‘traitor trend’ against political opponents.

“We don’t know about the audio and forensic would determine its authenticity as the conversation has been fabricated through cut and paste,” said senior PTI leader Dr Shireen Mazari while addressing a press conference here along with party’s Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry.

She said that the audio is irrelevant but the actual issue was of phone taping.

She said that the SC in 1997 had given a decision in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto versus former president Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari case that either official or private conversation could not be taped. She said that the decision was given after the then government of Ms Bhutto was sent packing on the allegation of phone taping.

Dr Mazari claimed that in 2015, a country’s intelligence agency had admitted before the apex court that it had taped around 7,000 phone calls in only one month. She said that only intelligence agencies had means and technical capability to tape phones which was illegal under SC decision. She added the court has given decisions more than once on illegal taping.

She said that a secure line at the home of former prime minister Imran Khan was taped and added that the SC should take suo motu notice to know which agencies were indulging in this illegal act and violating its order. “This is contempt of SC.”

PML-N says former first lady is trying to hide her corruption

Referring to a news story, the PTI leader warned that if another conversation between the prime minister Khan and his principal secretary Azam Khan was leaked, it would not only be a violation of Article 14 of Constitution but also an official secret act as well. The conversations at government level are protected under the official secret act, she said and added, “We will not keep quiet on this.”

She underlined that leaked audio was meant to hide the conspiracy that allegedly caused the ouster of the PTI government. She accused that ”neutrals” and incumbent rulers were allegedly making efforts to divert the attention of people from this foreign conspiracy. She said that the time of audio was important as it was leaked when PTI was holding protest rallies on weekend.

Former human rights minister Dr Mazari said that the family of Khan was being targeted because the incumbent government was not finding any corruption evidence against him. “This is not politics at all.”

Speaking on the occasion, Fawad Chaudhry also alleged that phones were being taped and conversations were being leaked continuously.

He also lashed out at Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif for claiming that PTI had approached US official Donald Lu seeking forgiveness. Khan has been alleging that the official played a part in his ouster from the office of prime minister.

Responding to the presser of PTI leaders, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference alleged that the “malicious campaign” run by the PTI against the state institutions was a brainchild of Bushra Bibi.

She said that both the PTI leaders had confessed that Bushra was spearheading the campaign against the state institutions by peddling fake narratives on social media.

She said the PTI leaders’ news conference was in fact a confession that  former first lady was not only behind the “venomous campaign against the institutions, but also coined the idea of awarding certificates of sedition to political opponents.”

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Marriyum said both the PTI leaders not only confirmed that audio was of Bushra, but also it was her personal decision to link the political opponents’ statements with sedition.

She said Bushra Bibi was pushing the narrative of “treachery and foreign conspiracy” to hide her corruption cases. “Political opponents were being abused by Bushra Bibi from everywhere with the aim to hide her unprecedented corruption,” she added.