ISLAMABAD    -   The two audios of former finance minister Senator Shaukat Tarin, leaked on Monday, have apparent­ly exposed opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-In­saf’s plans to scuttle the coalition government’s deal with the Interna­tional Monetary Fund (IMF) for revival of Paki­stan’s Extended Fund Fa­cility programme.

Two controversial leaked audios having detailed conversation of PTI government’s ex-fi­nance minister Tarin with the provincial min­isters of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) went viral on so­cial media and surfaced on TV channels hours before the crucial meet­ing of executive board of the IMF that had to met to consider the bailout package for Pakistan.

In the conversations, Tarin is directing both the fi­nance ministers of Punjab and KP to tell the federal govern­ment that they would not be able to commit the provincial budgets surplus due to floods — a prerequisite of the IMF to approve the bailout package for Pakistan. The PTI acknowl­edged the authenticity of the leaked audio but defended the conversation saying there was nothing wrong in it as Tarin was only advising the provin­cial ministers which was nec­essarily in the wake of rain-in­duced floods that have wreaked havoc countrywide. PTI Secre­tary General Asad Umar and KP Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra addressing the press conference said that the advice was necessary to renegotiate with the international lenders due to the devastation caused by floods. However, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry talking to re­porters said that the leaked au­dios were not in its actual form and have allegedly been com­posed by joining different parts of the conversation. He under­lined that taping of phones was illegal.

In the first audio clip, Tarin can be heard giving instructions to Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari to tell the fed­eral government that he would not be able to honour the earli­er commitments made with the IMF for surplus budget due to floods. He advises the provin­cial finance minister to write to the federal government so that “pressure falls on them because they’re jailing us, levelling ter­rorism charges against us and they’re going completely scot-free. “We can’t allow this to hap­pen,” he said adding that they would release the letter to the IMF silently.

Leghari asks Tarin whether this would hurt the state, or Pa­kistan as a state would suffer because of this? On this, the lat­ter responds: “Frankly speaking, isn’t the state suffering the way they are treating your chairman and everybody else?” He added that the IMF would ask the gov­ernment “from where will you arrange the money” and they would bring another mini-bud­get. PTI Senator Tarin further said it could not be allowed that “they mistreat us and they seek help for us in the name of the state and we keep helping them.”

The former finance minister said that they would do some­thing so it doesn’t seem like they were hurting the state.

In the other audio clip, Tarin can be heard advising KP Fi­nance Minister Jhagra whether he had drafted a similar letter.

“(The IMF commitment deal) is a blackmailing tactic and no one will release money anyway. I won’t release it. I don’t know about Leghari,” said Jhagra.

Tarin says that the letter, once drafted, would also be sent to the IMF representative.

PTI senior leader Shireen Mazari was the first to acknowl­edge the audio clips, saying there was nothing illegal in the conversations. “We have public­ly opposed the terms on which the imported Govt is taking loans from the IMF.