ISLAMABAD - A couple of purported audio tapes of ruling coalition including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, leaked to social media yesterday, have sent a shocking wave putting a question mark over the secrecy of phones data as well as conversations during important meetings in the PM House.
An audio clip purportedly of a meeting at PM House featuring several government officials has been leaked online. A day earlier, a leaked audio had gone viral on social media — allegedly featuring the PM — containing a discussion regarding PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz asking for a power plant from India to be imported for her son-in-law.
The officer could be heard saying that this was a matter of “grave concern” as being a relative of the PM, the issue could “wreak havoc if it comes to the knowledge of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and then of the federal cabinet”. The voice thought to belong to the PM responded by saying that he would talk to Maryam himself after his return from Turkey, to which the official suggested leaving the matter to former finance minister Ishaq Dar. Another leaked audio tape allegedly featuring the PM, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and others regarding discussion on PTI MNAs’ resignations.
In it, PML-N leaders can allegedly be heard giving their opinions over PTI’s resignations. They are also talking about London’s permission to accept the resignations. On the other hand, the leaked audio clips have rung alarm bells and raised serious questions about the security of the PM House.
PTI leadership has raised concerns regarding the security of the PM Office in the light of the recurring audio leaks.
Fawad took to Twitter and said: “This is a failure of our intelligence agencies, especially. Obviously, apart from political issues, important discussions on security and foreign issues are now in everyone’s hands.”
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said that while “truth helps, [and] cleans conscience”, illegal recordings were “wrong”. Moreover, former human rights minister and PTI leader Shireen Mazari also raised questions about PMO’s security in the wake of the audio leaks. “Who is responsible and where did orders or decisions come from?” to “bug” the PM House, she questioned.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, while talking to a TV channel, said yesterday that it is premature to say anything concrete as the government has decided to initiate an inquiry into the incident. “I don’t think we should take them so seriously since this is so common,” he added.
“If the probe proves that it’s not safe to talk in the prime minister house and somebody has done this [spying] arrangement, then it’s really serious but it is inappropriate to say this without proof.”
Sanaullah did not reject the content of the audios, instead, saying that the current setup’s “good governance” was reflected through them.
He also said that the prime minister had taken notice of the leaks and would consult his cabinet on the issue tomorrow, adding that the matter would be sorted out in the next few days.
On the leak where Maryam could allegedly be heard criticising the finance minister, the interior minister said expression of opinion was allowed in democratic and political systems, adding that Ismail was criticised by outsiders so it made no difference if Maryam or some others in the PML-N did so as well.
“What was wrong if Maryam said some of his decisions cost us politically,” the minister remarked.