Unfortunately, it seems that modern politics is being conducted through audio leaks and covert operations. Another alleged audio of former prime minister Imran Khan was released on Friday, purportedly featuring the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief talking about horse trading in parliament. This new leak is just one of many in a series of leaks allegedly from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The contents of the audio leak are incriminating; they make it seem like the PTI was allegedly looking into horse trading, an implication that is damaging considering the PTI has loudly condemned the phenomena of horse trading, and even petitioned the court to put a stop to it. The audio leak, if true, only confirms the notion that we all held already; that horse trading appears to be a rite of passage in politics, one which all parties indulge, regardless of which side of the political spectrum they are on. Needless to say, this behaviour is highly condemnable and indicates the depth of corruption and the lack of loyalty to voters in our political system.

Anything illegal that surfaces through these leaks should be investigated, although the evidentiary value of such covert audio is legally questionable. However, the embarrassment to PTI caused by this development aside, it is a highly grave matter for audio leaks of meetings held in the then-Prime Minister’s Office to be constantly leaked. It sends the message that the Prime Minister’s Office is not sufficiently secured and that there are clear security lapses in the enforcement of protocols around government buildings. The implications of this are highly dangerous considering banned outfits and non-state actors also keep up to date with these developments. It is unfortunate that the government seems unfazed by the brazen security violations, just because the target is a political rival.