ISLAMABAD / RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chau­dhry on Monday demanded a thorough inv­estigation into the audio leaenter link description hereks emanating from the Prime Minister House, featuring conversations between the prime minister and senior government officials, as he sought action against cabinet members and the premier in light of these leaks.

Addressing a press conference, the former information minister said that the leaked audios were a “very serious issue” which must be investigated properly. He claimed it was surprising that the PM House had not issued a statement on the matter, or announced a probe. The government subsequently ordered a probe.

Citing a media report, the PTI leader claimed that the government was in talks with the purported hackers to purchase the stolen data to stop the release of more audio clips. Mr Chaudhry questioned this strategy and asked what was the guarantee that the purported hackers would not blackmail the government again.

He claimed that the supposed hackers claimed to have access to the conversations of the security agencies regarding the issues of national security as well. Mr Chaudhry said these leaks suggested a “breach in the cyber-security” at the PM Office and added that “140-hour-long audio leaks” of the PM House had been available on the internet since Aug 20, but none of the institutions had any knowledge about that.

Fawad claims PM House data available on the web since Aug 20; criticises IB’s ‘cluelessness’

The PTI leader criticised the Intelligence Bureau, saying that it monitored the affairs of PM House, but despite spending billions of rupees, the agency remained completely unaware in this regard.

He said that a Twitter account was then created through which a few minutes of the conversation was leaked to the general public but “unfortunately, even after several hours, the government failed to react to the unfortunate development”.

The former minister also urged the National Assembly speaker to summon the prime minister and other members before the NA privilege committee and seek answers about the leaks. He also demanded the installation of the latest debugging system in the PM House.

Commenting on the content of the leaks that have surfaced so far, Mr Chaudhry criticised the prime minister for even considering the import of machinery from India, via another country, asking a person willing to bypass his own country’s laws be called ‘sadiq’ and ‘amin’.

He also referred to another leaked clip, where a handful of cabinet members could be heard discussing the matter of PTI lawmakers’ resignations. He said these decisions were being made from London and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was the one making them.

He hoped that the chief justice of Pakistan would take notice of the matter and added that the PTI was going to submit all these audios records to the Supreme Court so the apex court could decide regarding the matter.

Chohan blames Sanaullah

Separately, Punjab chief minister’s spokesperson Fayyazul Hasan Chohan held Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah responsible for the audio leaks and demanded an inquiry against Mr Sanaullah.

Addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi, the CM’s spokesperson said that Shehbaz Sharif should order an inquiry against Rana Sanaullah as to how the audios were leaked from the Prime Minister’s Office.

He also lashed out at Maryam Nawaz and claimed that she had started the trend of releasing audio and video leaks and she has become a victim of the audio leaks herself. He said it was absurd that the government was also trying to blame the PTI for the audio leaks.

In a comment on the return of Ishaq Dar, he said the PML-N had fled Pakistan in the plane of the prime minister and was now coming back to the country in the plane of the prime minister. According to the PTI leader, the economy was being destroyed to justify the return of Ishaq Dar.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2022

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