Pakistan

PMO ‘security concerns’ arise as purported audio clips of govt surface

A number of purported audio clips of the leaders of the ruling coalition surfaced on social media on Sunday as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) raised concerns about the security of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Just a day earlier, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry had also shared an audio clip on his official Twitter handle of a conversation allegedly between the premier and a senior government official.

In the clip, a voice – said to be that of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif – informs the government official about Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz looking to import machinery from India for a power plant, upon the request of her son-in-law Raheel.

The official was apprised that half of the machinery had already arrived while the other half was remaining.

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.

In the two-minute long clip, the two voices also discuss Maryam’s request for a grid station for a housing society belonging to Raheel, to which the voice said to be of Shehbaz said this “can be executed routinely as it is a fairly common practice”.

The second audio clip leaked on Sunday is allegedly between the federal cabinet in which the final approval on the resignations of PTI members was taken from London.

The conversation purportedly took place between PM Shehbaz, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Tarar and former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

In the third clip, a voice – said to be that of Maryam Nawaz – is heard allegedly telling Shehbaz that she was grateful for the support of someone who has been publicising as well as gatekeeping news from the public as per her demand.

Moreover, the voice can be heard lambasting Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who has already been at the receiving end of ample criticism due to some of his divisive decisions regarding the country’s economic situation.

‘Security concerns’

PTI leadership raised concerns regarding the security of the PMO in light of the recurring audio leaks.

Fawad took to Twitter and said: “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.”

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.

 

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