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Pakistan

NSC approves formation of high-level committee to probe PMO audio leaks

  • Heads of the intelligence institutions gave a detailed briefing to the participants on the security of the PM’s house and other important places
Published September 28, 2022
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The National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday approved the constitution of a high-level committee to probe the recently surfaced audio leaks purportedly featuring conversations of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with his aides and other officials about different government and party matters, Aaj News reported.

The NSC also approved the formation of a committee under Interior Minister Rana Sana Ullah to formulate a legal framework regarding Cyber Security.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, other cabinet members, and heads of all armed forces attended the meeting wherein matters related to the flood situation were also discussed.

During the meeting, the heads of the intelligence institutions gave a detailed briefing to the participants on the security of the PM’s house and other important places.

“The meeting was told that an investigation is being conducted on the issue of the audios circulating on social media. It was briefed about certain aspects related to the security of the Prime Minister’s House and the fool-proof arrangements taken to remedy them.”

The participants agreed to review the security, safety, and security of government communications keeping in mind the current changing environment of modern technology and cyberspace to ensure security and security systems are not breached.

The leaked audio

It all started when a leaked phone call allegedly between PM Shehbaz and a government official surfaced online.

In the over two-minute-long audio clip, 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 with the import of machinery from India.

Another clip purportedly involves a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier about Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who has faced criticism from his party leadership, over tough economic decisions in an effort to save Pakistan from default.

The voice said to be Maryam’s in the alleged clip said: “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,”

“He clearly cut corners,” the voice said to be PM Shehbaz can be heard as saying. Among other issues, the incident has raised questions about the security of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The development comes weeks after two audio tapes surfaced on social and mainstream media in which a man said to be Shaukat Tarin could be heard guiding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab’s finance ministers to inform the federal government and the IMF of their inability to commit to a provincial budget surplus in light of the recent floods that have wreaked havoc in Pakistan.

“We only wanted the provincial finance minister to write to the federal government so “pressure falls on them … they’re jailing us, filing terrorism charges against us and they’re going away completely scot-free. We can’t allow this to happen,” the voice purportedly of Tarin’s is heard telling Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari.

Following the audio leak, Tarin rejected the allegations of treason against him, saying that whatever he said was in the national interest.

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