• Imran says audio leak exposed ‘corruption’ of PML-N
• N-League, PTI leaders ask who ‘bugged’ PM Office

LAHORE / PESHAWAR: As members of the ruling coalition urged strict action in the wake of audio leaks featuring Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif alongside other important officials, former premier Imran Khan grabbed the opportunity to attack his opponents, specifically Maryam Nawaz whose conversation with the prime minister was also leaked online.

Addressing a rally in Karak, the PTI chief accused the PML-N leader of corruption and involvement in “illegal acts” since coming to power. He claimed Ms Maryam and her party came to power only to make money and added that they wanted to “trade with India for their own benefit”.

“The trade between the two countries has not resumed, but Maryam’s son-in-law is illegally procuring machinery from India, which shows that they worship money,” he claimed, alleging the PML-N “will choose to ignore the sacrifices of Kashmiris for money”.

‘Sanctity of PM House at stake’

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Faisalabad, PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry said the issue of the audio leaks was being taken “very seriously” as the national security and the sanctity of the Prime Minister House were at stake.

In a reference to the establishment, Mr Chaudhry alleged, “Who is targeting the PM House? Are there remnants of the Khalai Makhlooq that had brought Imran Khan to power, supported his government, and are worried after he [Imran] was sent home?”

He further asked which state officials could be safe from espionage if not the PM House.

Speaking about the leak wherein Ms Maryam’s son-in-law was mentioned, Mr Chaudhry said that her son-in-law was a “major businessman” even before the relationship was established.

The investigations into the audio leak would clarify many things, he said, adding that Ms Maryam was being targeted by Imran Khan and his supporters.

Separately, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded strict action in the wake of the leaks. According to Dawn.com, he said the matter was “very concerning” and required severe action.

“Today, audio calls of the Prime Minister House are surfacing, therefore I will urge the premier to take strict action and inquire as to who hacked the conversation,” he said during a presser in Multan.

‘Who bugged PMO’

In a tweet, PTI leader Shireen Mazari echoed the concerns expressed by Mr Chaudhry.

“Real issue is who bugged the PMO/PM House in the first place. The hacking happened because devices were placed in these locations. So who is responsible and where did orders or decision come from? That is a question that must also be focused on,” Ms Mazari asked. \

In a series of tweets, former aide to Imran Khan, Shahzad Akbar rubbished claims of a hack and called it a “cover story”.

“Our systems are based on analog and not digital, in fact, that’s one way of Pakistan’s cyber security,” he said, calling it an “insider job”.

“Timing is important as it’s just before crucial appointment, the target seems clearly to influence the decision, which way though only time will tell,” he said.

“There has been a series of leaks featuring PML-N and PTI leadership mainly, but not a single one of PPP, why is that?” he questioned.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2022

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