'Who had the right to record me?': Maryam demands apology for 'phone tapping'

Published January 6, 2022
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addresses a press conference in Lahore.  –DawnNewsTV
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addresses a press conference in Lahore. –DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz demanded an apology on Thursday for her phone being "tapped", as she addressed a reporter's question pertaining to a leaked audio tape in which she and party leader Pervez Rashid used inappropriate language for certain journalists.

Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, Maryam said: "Firstly, an apology should be tendered to me for my phone being tapped. It was my personal and private conversation with Pervez Rasheed sahib. Who had the right to tap my personal conversation?"

She further questioned why the audio clip was given to a certain television channel, and why it was aired.

"Firstly, give answers to these questions and apologise to me as well," she said, without specifying from whom she was demanding the apology.

"I want an answer to why did you record the conversation of a citizen of Pakistan, a woman," she remarked, alleging that the clip was given to "government ministers, who gave it to a channel".

The PML-N leader said she was not answerable to anyone regarding her personal conversations, be it with Rashid or anyone else.

When a reporter referred to another leaked audiotape — purportedly of a conversation between former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and an unidentified man regarding PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Maryam's trial — and asked whether recording that conversation was fair, she replied: "I did not record it."

"Nature works in its own ways and things surface," she said, adding the that the former judge's alleged audio clip could not be compared with "my tapes".

Maryam elaborated that the tapes attributed to her contained her personal conversations, devoid of any conspiracies.

"I did not do anything," she again clarified. "It all came from there," she said without elaborating what she meant by it.

Maryam demands PM's resignation, action over ECP report

Earlier in the press briefing, Maryam demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan's resignation and action against him and other members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) over a report compiled by the scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that she claimed confirmed that the PTI received funding from foreign nationals and companies, under-reported funds and concealed dozens of its bank accounts.

"The PML-N demands and Pakistan's opposition demands that Imran Khan immediately resigns [as the prime minister] for lying ... taking illegal funds and covering this [act]," she said, further demanding action against the premier and PTI over "misdeclaration, [deliberate] concealment and misstatement".

Moreover, the PML-N vice president said, action should also be taken against four of the PTI's employees named in the ECP's report for receiving funds in their personal accounts.

"There should be an investigation on how much amount was transferred from which company to the [PTI's] accounts and where it was spent," she said, also demanding that "all declared and undeclared accounts of the PTI should be made public."

Maryam called for the formation of a joint investigation team on the matter, demanding that the hearings of the case then be held against Prime Minister Imran on a daily basis, "just like they were held over false allegations against Sharifs".

Lauding the ECP for releasing the report on the matter "despite pressure from the government to not make it public", she said the commission now must punish the prime minister according to the law.

"Now it is the ECP's and judiciary's test, which were very active at the time of the case against Nawaz Sharif," she remarked. "The nation now wants to see what action these institutions that serve justice take against a person against whom such big allegations have been proved."

At the outset of her address, Maryam said the ECP's report contained "shocking" facts and revelations that had "removed the mask" from Prime Minister Imran's face and exposed him to the nation.

"There is no doubt that such allegations have never been levelled, supported by undeniable evidence, against any political party or leader in Pakistan's history," she claimed, slamming the premier for not "addressing these allegations and instead, telling your party to highlight the brand Imran Khan".

Maryam went on to say that the PTI's brand was now defined by "inefficiency, inflation, lying and unemployment".

Sharing the contents of the report, she said according to the State Bank of Pakistan, the PTI had 26 accounts, of which 18 were active.

"Only four of the accounts were declared by the PTI before the Election Commission of Pakistan," she claimed. "You did not just lie [about the accounts], but also tried to sabotage the investigation [into them]."

Reiterating the accusation that the government had tried to pressurise the ECP into not releasing the report, she said, "You challenged the ECP's jurisdiction and used delaying tactics for seven years [to stop the report's release]."

Sharing more details from the report, she continued: "Whatever happened was in Imran Khan's knowledge ... and it happened on his directions."

Criticising the prime minister for now issuing an explanation on the report, she alleged that "part of illegal foreign funds procured by the PTI was spent on toppling an elected government when Imran Khan was seen on containers."

Maryam said Pakistan's law barred parties from being beneficiaries of foreign funding by any company and states that any party doing so be declared a proscribed group.

And, she continued, it was for the "first time that I have seen someone, [namely] Imran Khan, calling naked bribery donation".

Turning her attention to former CJP Nisar, she said: "The nation wants to know why a person who is corrupt to the core was handed the certificate of being sadiq and ameen (honest and righteous)."

"I want to ask Saqib Nisar where does your certificate of sadiq and ameen stand today? I want to ask why was the [control of] the country handed over to a person who robbed, lied and covered his and his friends' sins? Why was the country left at the mercy of such a person?" she said.

Maryam added, "Imran Khan and the person who gave him the certificate of sadiq and ameen, Saqib Nisar, are responsible for inflation, lawlessness" and other problems faced by the country today.

When asked about Nawaz Sharif returning to Pakistan, Maryam said he would surely come back but the PML-N would decide the time of his return.



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