PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday alleged that the PML-N had “started a new game” of fake audios, saying that it was one of the party’s “specialties”.
“Maryam Nawaz has made all these fake audios, but remember: nowadays, it is not difficult to make such deepfake videos and we can do the same,” Imran said at a rally in Mianwali today.
Imran’s claim comes hours after a third audio recording surfaced on social media, purportedly featuring the PTI chief talking about horse-trading in parliament. A fourth clip later surfaced on social media, in which he can be allegedly heard discussing the cipher with Asad Umar and Shireen Mazari.
A steady stream of audio recordings have surfaced of late, allegedly featuring the leadership of the PTI and PML-N holding informal conversations never meant to be heard by the public.
Previous audio clips featured purported conversations between the PTI chief and his former ministers and principal secretary about a cipher that he has for long presented as evidence of a “foreign conspiracy” to oust him from office.
Last month, 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 as well, triggering alarm bells with regard to national security.
Neither the PML-N nor the PTI had denied the contents of the audios, but Imran’s deepfake claim today is the first time the party has attempted to challenge the authenticity of the audios.
In the evening, PTI’s former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also characterised the audios as “fake”.
However, in his speech, Imran also called the audio leaks from the Prime Minister’s Office a “grave security concern”, saying that it was a “matter of worry” that the phone lines of the prime minister were being tapped.
“I ask our intelligence agencies […] your job is to protect the PM Office and if all these things are leaked, this your responsibility. You should understand [this] instead of threatening people and [indulging in] political engineering.”
Tape featuring ‘four people’
Going on, Imran said that he had decided to “sacrifice my life” for the freedom of the country. “They are trying to scare us by threatening to throw us in jail.
“Now, I will start a Jail Bharo Tehreek (fill prisons movement). There are millions ready to go to jail, don’t try to scare us,” he asserted.
Talking about another “game played by the government”, the PTI chief claimed that PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb and Javed Latif had accused him of blasphemy and ran programmes about it on national television.
“There are four people sitting behind closed doors — who planned to kill me — they have now decided to blame me for blasphemy so that someone kills me.
“I want to tell them today that I have made a tape and if something happens to me, that tape will be released to reveal their identities,” Imran warned, adding that those “four people” won’t be forgiven by the nation.
The PTI chairman then asked them to prepare for the Azadi March, stressed that his planning for the protest this time was well-thought.
“The march on Islamabad is just one part of it and the Kaptaan is planning other things that no one has ever seen before,” he avowed.
Addressing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Imran said: “You and your handlers can prepare, but remember the Kaptaan will scuttle all your plans.
“You can’t stop us now, you will have to hold elections.”
He also said that even though the coalition government had gathered on one side with Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, they all cannot beat the PTI, “even if they try to rig elections”.
“The Kaptaan standing before you is the man who went to India and defeated them on their home ground,” Imran added.