Thursday Oct 13, 2022
The issue of audio leaks seems to be far from being over as another alleged soundbite of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has emerged on social media.
In recent days, several audios, allegedly featuring government officials and PTI leaders, have surfaced. The PM has formed a high-power investigation committee to probe the issue, particularly the leaks that involved the PM House. Former PM Imran Khan has also demanded the formation of JIT to investigate the bugging of the PM House.
In the latest audio leak, PM Shehbaz can be heard talking with an unidentified person on the appointment of his special assistants.
The unidentified person can be heard telling PM Shehbaz that Economic Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq has communicated to him that the PPP is asking "shares" for SAPM as well.
"Yes, Bilawal had spoken to me about it," the PM responded.
The person then tells the premier to look into the matter as the government already has to appoint "Zafar Mehmood and Mr Jahanzaib", adding that he will share the final number of SAPMs with him later in the day.
"Share the document, it's not just PPP but others as well," PM Shehbaz responded.
However, the official then informs the PM that if PPP is accommodating then the JUI and MQM will also ask for shares. He added that the MQM is proposing the name of Malik Ahmed Ali, who had a "critical role" in the "deal".
"Who?" asked the premier. To which he was informed that Ali hails from Karachi.
Unidentified person: Sir, Mr Ayaz Sadiq is saying PPP is asking shares for SAPM as well
PM Shehbaz: Yes, Bilawal had spoken to me about it
Unidentified person: So look at it, we have to appoint Zafar Mehmood and Mr Jahanzaib. I will tell you a final number today
PM Shehbaz: Share the document, its not just peoples party but others as well.
Unidentified person: Then JUI and MQM will also ask for it. MQM is naming Malik Ahmed Ali, saying that he had a critical role in all this deal
PM Shehbaz: Who?
Unidentified person: Sir, he is from Karachi
On October 11, Interior Minister Rana Sanauallah said the culprits behind the audio leaks had been identified, adding that the modus operandi of stealing those sound bites was not bugging but telephone tapping.
The first tape allegedly featured Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a senior official. The discussion focused on PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz asking her uncle for a power plant to be imported from India for her son-in-law.
On September 25, two more audios were leaked on social media. One of them was related to a discussion about the PTI lawmakers’ resignations and the other was about former finance minister Miftah Ismail.
The first audio related to PTI was leaked on September 28, in which the PTI chief allegedly told his then-principal secretary Azam Khan that they have to "play" the US cypher.
The second PTI audio leak came to the fore on September 30, which allegedly exposed Khan's conspiracy narrative.
In it, the then-prime minister Khan, ex-minister Asad Umar, and the then-principal secretary Azam could allegedly be heard discussing the US cypher in a meeting and how to use it to their (PTI’s) advantage.
Following the back-to-back leaks, the National Security Council (NSC) approved the formation of a high-level committee under the leadership of Sanauallah to investigate the matter.
In its meeting just a day after on September 30, the federal cabinet also endorsed NSC's decision to probe the matter thoroughly.
However, despite the government's decision to investigate the matter, a couple of more audios were leaked featuring Khan and his aides.
In the first of the two audios leaked on October 7, Khan could allegedly be heard speaking about horse-trading and discussing ‘buying five’ and ‘numbers game’. However, he was speaking alone and no one else could be heard.
In another audio leaked later in the same day, the former prime minister was allegedly talking about making a plan ahead of the no-confidence motion with PTI leaders Shireen Mazari and Asad Umar.