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Saturday November 26, 2022

Govt not involved in audio leaks: PM Shahbaz tells media

Premier says damages caused by audio leaks will take decades to mend

By Web Desk
October 06, 2022

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. — PTV News/Screengrab
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. — PTV News/Screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday said that the government was not involved in the issue of the audio leaks, saying that for the last few days, audio tapes of PTI and coalition government are surfacing but the government has nothing to do with them.

Addressing the issue of the cypher related to the alleged foreign conspiracy during a press conference at the PM House, the prime minister said that it "hurt the reputation of the country internationally."

"If I was involved in the audio leaks of PTI leaders, why would I release mine?" he said.

“Who is going to come to the PM House and speak confidently with the prime minister?” the premier questioned, adding that such damages leave the nation impacted for decades.

Criticising PTI Chairman Imran Khan for pushing the country toward chaos through the cypher conspiracy, the prime minister said that there was "no doubt that Khan steered the conspiracy."

“After the cypher-related audio leak, there is no doubt who was behind the conspiracy,” the PM said, adding that the country was played with on the cypher’s pretext and termed it the “worst form of dishonesty” with Pakistan.

“The nation has seen conniving faces,” he said, alleging PTI for harming the dignity of the country.

“Let’s go back to April 3 when voting was to be held on the no-confidence motion and everybody knows the incidents that took place on that day. But I just want to narrate what exactly happened on that day,” he said.

The premier narrated that the then-deputy speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri, who was officiating the proceeding on behalf of then-speaker Asad Qaiser, allowed the information minister [Fawad Chaudhry] of that time to speak before the voting began.

He read a statement which mentioned that a conspiracy had been hatched against the PTI government and termed it a “foreign conspiracy”.

“On this, Suri sahab refused to allow the voting process to take place without even taking the Opposition into confidence,” PM Shehbaz went on to say, adding that the "hues and cries of the Opposition were ignored."

The PM went on to say that within no time, Imran Khan appeared on the television screens and announced that he was dissolving the National Assembly, “surprisingly the summary was also passed by the President of Pakistan within 20 minutes.”

“I am not repeating the incidents. I just want to share the link of the entire conspiracy,” he clarified.

Taking a jibe at President Alvi, the premier said that the president who takes days and weeks to approve summaries, including the one regarding the appointment of governor Punjab, passed the summary regarding the dissolution of assemblies within 20 minutes.

“This was the basis of the conspiracy that Khan has been playing along with for the last five months and wasting the nation’s time,” PM Shehbaz said, lamenting that due to his wrongdoings, the country’s relations with the biggest powers of the world had been compromised.

Recalling that several “baseless allegations” were levelled at several coalition government leaders during this time, he said: “You can say whatever you want, but calling someone a traitor […] there is no bigger conspiracy than it.”

“On the floor of the Lower House, I said that if God forbid this conspiracy was proved against me or the coalition, then the nation has the right to hang me.”

Speaking about the recently surfaced audio leaks allegedly featuring Khan and his former federal ministers, the premier said that the leaks had revealed the PTI chief’s truth.

“He can be heard saying that this was a game […] they can be heard saying that minutes of the meeting should be made according to their wishes. They played with the nation’s trust. The country’s honour was sabotaged in such a manner that no such example is found in history […] this is nothing less than treason,” Shehbaz said, claiming that Khan played a “serious game with the country”.

“I am asking you all, is there any doubt left as to who was behind the conspiracy?”

PM Shehbaz said that he was holding an address today "to sensitise the nation” against the “biggest liar in the country”, alleging that Imran could sacrifice the country for his personal benefits.

“Did I give NRO to his sister Aleema Khan?” he questioned, adding that the nation only saw how Khan’s assets in New York and Dubai weren’t declared.

He said: “A person who is the trustee of the Namal University and Shaukat Khanum Hospital, and gets a clean chit from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), then is it not the NRO?”

PM Shehbaz said that the final decision has to be taken by the 220 million people of Pakistan as to who they want to support after the leaked audios revealed all the ill intentions.

‘Country will be destroyed’

“I am a sinner but I will never lie to the nation,” he said, adding that if he speaks wrongly, the nation can hold him accountable.

PM Shehbaz warned that if Khan once again comes into power, the “country will be destroyed”. The premier further added that the PTI chief has time and again defamed Pakistan.

“Is telling lies, committing frauds, and hatching conspiracies his [Khan’s] patriotism and leadership?" he asked, adding that a person who says he is perfect dies his own death.

Shedding light on PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s return, he said: “When Mian will come, he will bring prosperity along with him.”

‘Govt can’t decode cypher’

Replying to a question, the premier said that the cypher —which Khan claims contain details of a foreign conspiracy to oust him from power — can’t be decoded by the government.

“If it is, then all the cables from all embassies can be leaked or stolen,” he explained. PM Shehbaz reiterated that the prime minister’s copy of the cypher — also referred to as the master copy — had gone missing.

The PM also revealed that the cabinet had decided to probe the audio leaks, adding that an investigation into them had already been initiated. “We will tell the nation [the findings] with complete transparency.”

‘Army chief’s appointment decision to be taken as per law’

The prime minister asserted that the appointment of the next army chief — upcoming in November — will be done as per the Constitution.

“It [the appointment] has a process in the law and Constitution and the decision will be taken according to that.”