- Seeks criminal proceedings against PM Shehbaz Sharif
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) approached on Saturday the Supreme Court (SC), seeking a judicial investigation into audio recordings of purported conversations between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and federal ministers regarding the resignation of PTI MNAs from the National Assembly.
In the petition, the PTI says that PM Shehbaz and his cabinet members can be heard discussing a "heinous strategy to outplay the petitioner from the parliamentary politics in most illegal, unlawful and objectionable manner".
“The entire discussion revolves around a criminal strategy/conspiracy to affect and target the petitioner through (illegal and unlawful) piecemeal acceptance of the resignations tendered by the members of the National Assembly on the 11th day of April 2022, belonging to the petitioner party.”
On April 11, as the National Assembly geared up to resume its session to elect the new prime minister after Imran Khan was removed from the office through a no-confidence motion, some PTI MNAs had submitted their resignations to the speaker NA.
The petition said that the PM has also admitted the "actuality and existence" of the audio leaks.
It claimed that the prime minister, Speaker of National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and federal minister violated their oath. The PTI sought criminal proceedings against them.
Later, in a tweet, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry confirmed the development, demanding that the recordings should be investigated and that the top court should take a decision on PTI’s piecemeal resignation petition in light of the recordings.
Last week, several audio recordings of conversations between PM Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and some members of the federal cabinet surfaced online.
In one of the recordings, PM Shehbaz can be heard discussing the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the lower house of parliament with Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Ayaz Sadiq.
One set of recordings made public allegedly involved a discussion between Shehbaz and one of his advisers. In the over two-minute-long audio clip, a voice said to be that of PM Shehbaz, could be heard saying that Maryam had asked him to facilitate her son-in-law with the import of machinery from India.
Another clip purportedly involved a conversation between Maryam and the premier about outgoing 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,”
Following the recordings, PM Shehbaz said that the issue of the audio leak from the Prime Minister's House was a "serious lapse", stressing that the matter was about the "respect of the state of Pakistan".
To a question about the seriousness of the matter, he said: "It is not about Shehbaz Sharif, rather about the sanctity of the office."
"It is a big question mark," he said before asking: "Who will come to meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the Prime Minister's House?"
"Be it a sympathiser or a friend, they will think 100 times before talking."
The premier went on to say that many sensitive issues are discussed at the Prime Minister's Office.
“I am taking notice of this and a committee will be formed and reach the depth of this matter,” he said.
"This is not about me or the prime minister's office, this is about Pakistan's respect."