LAHORE: Punjab government spokesman Ataullah Tarar Sunday revealed an alleged audio recording of a conversation between property tycoon Malik Riaz and his daughter Amber Riaz in which the two could be heard discussing how the former first lady Bushra Bibi refused to accept a three-carat diamond ring from them.
However, both – Malik Riaz and the PTI – have denied any link to the audio. The audio was brought to the fore by Tarar and PMLN Secretary Information Azma Bukhari during a press conference in Lahore.
In the alleged audio, Amber could be heard telling her father — who enjoys congenial relations with all Pakistani politicians — that she had sent the then-first lady a three-carat diamond ring, which she had refused to accept.
Without mentioning Farah Gogi's name in the audio, Amber said that she had a meeting with "her" (Farah) on Saturday, therefore, a five-carat diamond ring should be arranged for Bushra Bibi before that, adding that the ring would cost Rs10 million.
Amber further told her father that she (Farah) had told her that it was "no big deal for the first lady to own a three-carat ring, therefore, it was "unbecoming of them to send her something that everybody could own."
Upon hearing that, Malik Riaz could be heard telling his daughter "to get the ring that they (the first lady and Gogi) were demanding." During the call, Amber could also be heard telling her father that the "locked doors to his sites will be opened the next morning", adding that "she" (Farah) had assured her that she received a call from Imran Khan.
"She (Farah) told me that she had received a phone call from Khan Sahab and said that he would take guarantee for the closure of the [cases] for which the reports have been submitted to him. You will also get a letter from Shahzad Akbar tomorrow," Amber could be heard telling her father.
Meanwhile, Malik Riaz in a message said: “With latest technologies as deep fake, fabricating an audio conversation shouldn’t be a surprise. The audio associated to me on social media is obviously a product of this technology.
“I don’t wish to involve in political campaigns of any party, but the most appalling fact is that my voice and reference is being misused to settle personal and political scores.
“I absolutely detest these continuous attacks on me, now involving my family too. I intend to pursue this matter legally too and will be using all possible legal forums to find people behind this conspiracy against me. “Anyone found to be originator and facilitators in spreading fake material will be taken to task,” he concluded.
PTI leader and former minister of state Farrukh Habib has also denied that the party has any link with the leaked audio. In a statement, he said that the PTI has nothing to do with father-daughter conversation.
However, Tarar offered to send the audio for forensic examination, stressing that the conversation was real. During a press conference, Tarar said that if PTI Chairman Imran Khan was an honest man, then his wife's close aide Farah Gogi — who is in Dubai since corruption allegations were levelled against her by the government — should take the next flight to Pakistan.
When the PTI government was in power, Gogi accumulated assets worth billions of rupees, he said, adding that diamonds worth billions of rupees were sent to Dubai from Pakistan where they were sold off.
He further alleged that Gogi was involved in the transfer and appointments of government officials in Punjab against hefty payments. "The matter is not confined to the diamond dealings but soon, information about the sale of expensive paintings and watches will come to the fore too," Tarar said, adding that once these items were sold in Dubai, money was transferred to Pakistan via hundis.
The Punjab government spokesperson went on to say that Farah Gogi was involved in what could be termed "Asia's largest money-laundering scandal." "I, therefore, demand that if Imran Khan is an honest man, then Farah Gogi should board the next flight to Pakistan," Tarar said.
It should be recalled that back in May when allegations of corruption had surfaced against Farah Gogi, Khan had come to her rescue and had said that she was innocent, adding that "cases registered against her were totally wrong" as "wealth beyond known sources of income" applied to public office holders only.
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