Just days after an audio recording was released, allegedly of PTI chairman Imran Khan and his former principal secretary Azam Khan, another one surfaced on Friday — supposedly a continuation of the conversation in the previous recording — featuring who are believed to be PTI leaders Asad Umar and Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussing the “foreign conspiracy” cipher with the former premier and ex-principal secretary.
The clip making rounds on social media purportedly features a conversation between Imran, Azam, Umar and Qureshi about a cipher that the PTI chief has for long presented as evidence of a “foreign conspiracy” to oust him from the top office.
A similar audio recording, of a supposed conversation between Imran and Azam discussing the cipher, had surfaced earlier this week as well.
In the [latest] audio clip, a voice, believed to be Imran’s, is heard saying: “Shah Jee we have to hold a meeting tomorrow […] you and the three of us (Imran, Qureshi and Azam Khan) and the foreign secretary.
“In it [the meeting], we have to tell them to quietly write the minutes of the meeting […] Azam is saying that we should draft the minutes and make photocopies of it.”
Here, the second voice, believed to be of Azam, is heard asking, “this cipher arrived on 7th or 8th […] it came on 8th”.
Here, the person on the other end, purportedly Imran, is heard saying that the meeting was held on the 7th.
“We don’t have to name the Americans […] under no circumstances do we have to take the name. So on this issue please, the name of the country should not come out of anyone. This is very important for all of you.
“That which country the letter came from […] I don’t want to hear the name from anyone,” the person believed to be Imran says.
In turn, the voice, supposedly belonging to Umar, can be heard saying: “Are you saying letter deliberately? This is not [a] letter, it is the meeting’s transcript.”
In his reply, the man believed to be Imran says that both the letter and the transcript were “the same thing”.
“People wouldn’t have understood the transcript. You say [things] like this in your jalsa,” Imran allegedly says.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry did not disavow the contents of the audio but said that the purpose of such leaks was to divert attention from the acquittal of Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield case.
“We took whatever caution was possible in diplomatic matters,” Chaudhry said in a tweet.
He said that the name of the country [US] was not revealed until the cabinet declassified the cipher. “The name, however, had to come to light when the cipher had been declassified.”
Another party leader, Shahbaz Gill, pointed out a flaw in the subtitle of the leaked audio, clarifying that Imran had reportedly asked a person at the other end to jot down minutes. “But the subtitle mentions that the minutes of our choice shall be written.”
Former state minister Farrukh Habib said the probe into cipher had now become the need of the hour, insisting that it was a reality and no Pakistani was willing to accept the intervention of a foreign power to effect regime change in the country.
Previous audio leak
The first audio leak, which surfaced on Wednesday, also purportedly featured Imran and Azam and had “part one” ominously mentioned.
In the audio clip, a voice, believed to be Imran’s, is heard saying: “We only have to play on this. We don’t have to name [any country]. We only have to play with this, that this date was [decided] before.
“The new thing that will emerge is that the letter …”
Here, the second voice, believed to be of Azam, is heard, suggesting holding a meeting on the cipher.
“See, if you recall, in that the ambassador has written in the end to [send] a demarche. Even if the demarche is not to be sent, as I have thought a lot about it at night — you said they raised it — I thought about how to cover all this.
“Let’s hold a meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi (who was the foreign minister in Imran’s government) and the foreign secretary. Shah Mahmood Qureshi will read out that letter and whatever he reads out will be converted into a copy. I will then make minutes [out of it and say] that the foreign secretary has prepared this.
“But its (cipher’s) analysis will have to be conducted here. We will carry out the analysis and convert it into minutes as we want so that it becomes [part of] the office record.”
He elaborates that the analysis would conclude that “it is a threat. It is called a threat in diplomatic language”.
The man, believed to Azam, adds that “minutes are in my hands … we will draft the minutes”.
Here, the person on the other end, purportedly Imran, is heard asking who would be called to the meeting. “Shah Mahmood, you, me and Sohail?”
Just these, the other person says.
“We will do it tomorrow,” the person believed to be Imran replies.
In turn, the voice, supposedly belonging to Azam, is heard explaining that following this plan, “things will become a part of the record.
“Consider that they are the consulate for the state. When he will read it out, I will easily copy it and it will be on record that this has happened.”
Moreover, he suggests that “you (supposedly Imran) call the foreign secretary so that it doesn’t remain political and becomes a part of the bureaucratic record”.
To this, the man believed to be Imran points out that an ambassador has written the cipher, implying that it should already be a part of the bureaucratic record since it has been written by an envoy.
“But we don’t have a copy of it. How did they release it?” the person on the other end replies.
Leaks reveal massive breach in security at PM Office
What began as an alleged and potentially embarrassing audio leak seems to have turned into an all-out national security incident as a slew of audio recordings of conversations between key government figures — including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and some members of the federal cabinet — were released over the weekend.
The content of the recordings appear to be informal conversations in the PM Office — as opposed to recorded phone conversations.
On Saturday, a recording of PM Shehbaz surfaced where he was discussing with an unidentified official the possibility of facilitating the import of Indian machinery for a power project that was a concern of Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Raheel.
On Sunday, further recordings surfaced, which were shared on social media by several PTI leaders, concerning former finance minister Miftah Ismail and the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly.
One clip purportedly features a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier about Miftah, wherein a voice thought to belong to the former says he “doesn’t know what he is doing” and wishes for the return of PML-N stalwart Ishaq Dar.
A second clip allegedly concerns a conversation between the prime minister, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Ayaz Sadiq about the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly.
A third clip purportedly features a conversation between Maryam Nawaz and PM Shehbaz regarding the return of former army chief retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.
PM Shehbaz on Tuesday termed the surfacing of audio leaks a “very serious lapse” and announced that a high-level committee would be constituted to probe the matter.