Alleged audio clips of govt surface; PTI raises questions over security of PMO
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
In a turn of events straight out of a spy movie, more purported audio clips featuring leaders of the ruling coalition surfaced on Sunday as the opposition PTI questioned the security of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Just a day earlier, an audio recording of an alleged conversation, purportedly between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a government official, was leaked on social media.
In the over two-minute-long audio clip, shared by PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on his Twitter account, a voice said to be that of PM Shehbaz could be heard saying that Maryam Nawaz had asked him to facilitate her son-in-law Raheel with the import of machinery for a power plant, from India.
The clips which surfaced, shared on Twitter by several PTI leaders, concerned embattled Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly.
The first clip purportedly features a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier about Miftah, who has reportedly faced criticism from within the party for taking tough economic measures.
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.
“He clearly cut corners,” the voice said to be PM Shehbaz’s is heard as saying. “Uncle, he doesn’t know what he is doing,” Maryam purportedly says, as she wishes for the return of PML-N stalwart Ishaq Dar.
Former finance minister Dar is set to return to the country next week to facilitate PM Shehbaz on the economic front.
The second clip allegedly concerns 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.
While the government maintained its silence on the matter on Sunday, PTI leaders were in overdrive questioning the PMO’s security.
PTI’s Fawad said that the way the PMO data was offered up for sale on the dark web showed the state of the country’s cybersecurity.
“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,” he remarked.
KP minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, who has also been a victim of an audio leak, said: “8GB of hacked leaks from PMO. Regardless of who is speaking, this Orwellian culture of recordings is disgusting.”
Will someone answer under what law and who is taping the conversations of the political leadership, whether in the PMO or on the phone, he questioned. “And who is accountable for the security of this data?”
Ex-human rights minister Shireen Mazari said one of the alleged audios showed the laying down of groundwork for Dar’s return.
“The leaked audios certainly reveal the influence of convict Nawaz Sharif and his convict-on-bail daughter in the running of this imported government itself a cabal of crooks,” she said.
She went on to say that the “real issue” was who bugged the PMO or the Prime Minister House in the first place.
“The hacking happened because devices were placed in these locations. So who is responsible and where did orders or decision come from? That is a question that must also be focused on,” she said.