Sunday December 10, 2023

Audio leaks probe begins

PM Shehbaz has taken notice of alleged audio leaks and ordered an investigation, says Rana Sanaullah

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai & News Desk
September 26, 2022
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — PID/File
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — PID/File

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Sunday said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had taken notice of alleged audio leaks of the Prime Minister’s House and ordered an investigation.

Talking to the Geo News programme Naya Pakistan, he said all agencies would be a part of the probe. However, he said there was nothing to worry about phone tapping as it was common in the world. “It portrays a better image of the government about governance and fair play,” he added. He said it was premature to say the security of the Prime Minister’s House had been breached. “However, it will be a serious issue if a spying device is found at the PM’s House,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PM House’s security was questioned after purported audio clips featuring government officials surfaced. In a new audio, PMLN leaders can be heard talking about London’s permission to accept PTI resignations. A day earlier, a leaked audio had gone viral on social media — allegedly featuring Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — containing a discussion regarding PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz asking for a power plant from India to be imported for her son-in-law.

The new leaked audio that has gone viral on social media — allegedly featuring PM Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and others — contains a discussion about PTI’s resignations. In it, the PMLN leaders can be heard giving their opinion on PTI resignations. They are also talking about London’s permission to accept the resignations.

Maryam Nawaz’s another alleged audio conversation was leaked in which she can be heard advising Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to jack up fuel prices. Maryam, who had been opposing a hike in fuel prices on the media, can be heard suggesting Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif increase fuel prices. She also complained about Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. “Uncle, the US dollar is increasing and Miftah Ismail is even not taking responsibility for it. (Ishaq) Dar sahab has control of things; he knows what to do but Miftah doesn’t. Miftah Ismail even does not know what he is doing and what results his actions will bring in the future. He has disappointed people; there are a large number of complaints against him,” she said in the alleged audio.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry has raised questions about the cyber security situation in the country and said that the PM House’s data had been put on sale on the dark web. Taking to his Twitter handle, the PTI leader said, “It is a major failure of our intelligence agencies, especially the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Besides political matters, important discussions on security and foreign affairs are in their hands,” he added.

Raising questions over the security of the PM’s Office, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said: “8GB of hacked leaks from the PMO. Regardless of who is speaking, this Orwellian culture of recordings is disgusting.” The minister asked, “Who is accountable for the security of this data?”

Reacting to the leaked audios, PTI leader Shireen Mazari said one of the alleged audios showed the laying down of groundwork for “absconder 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 added. The “real issue” is who bugged the PMO or PM House in the first place, she questioned. “The hacking happened because devices were placed in these locations. So who is responsible and where did orders or decisions come from? That is a question that must also be focused on,” she added.