Latest audio leak aimed at sabotaging JIT probing Wazirabad attack: Imran Khan

Published February 19, 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan and PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid in a televised address on February 19, 2023.  — Screengrab
Former prime minister Imran Khan and PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid in a televised address on February 19, 2023. — Screengrab

Former prime minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that an audio clip featuring a conversation between Dr Yasmin Rashid and ex-Lahore police chief Ghulam Mahmood Dogar was aimed at sabotaging the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the attempt on his life.

In the leaked audio, the PTI leader is speaking to the police officer asking if he had received the posting orders after he was reinstated as the Lahore capital police officer (CCPO) by a Supreme Court bench on Friday. As per the audio clip, the police officer replied that no orders had reached him.

The former Punjab health minister, without naming anyone, stated that she had made the phone call to find out what “their intentions are”. Making an apparent reference to Imran, she conveyed that he was “concerned” about the issues surrounding the reinstatement of the former Lahore police chief.

Dogar replied that the files would be signed after the court time and his people were sitting there to receive the orders. She said that she had told Imran that Dogar had yet to receive the orders.

In the conversation, Rashid asked the police officer if “their night would be passed quietly”. As Dogar hesitated for a moment, the PTI leader quickly quipped that she had posed a “difficult question right at the outset”.

The police officer responded that hopefully, everything would be fine.

It is pertinent to mention that this audio clip was the latest addition to the series of audio leaks surrounding Dogar, as only a couple of days ago former chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s conversation with his lawyer about Dogar’s case was leaked on social media.

In a televised address on Sunday, the PTI chairman linked the audio clips to an attempt to sabotage the investigation into the attack on his life in Wazirabad last year.

Speaking alongside Rashid, he said that all the officials included in the JIT were removed and some were “blackmailed into resigning” but Dogar stood his ground and told the court that there were three attackers involved in the incident.

It should be noted that several PTI leaders, including Imran, have reiterated that the attack was part of a “well-coordinated” plan executed by at least three shooters to eliminate the former premier.

A JIT, formed by the Punjab government, had reportedly concurred with Imran’s claims that the attack was carried out from three different shooting sites. The team, which has been reconstituted twice, was headed by Dogar. Earlier in January though, the government formed a new team to probe the attack.

“They have posted their own officers. The 17 out of 23 officers transferred by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were the ones involved in the May 25 incident,” Imran said during the televised address, referring to the violence against PTI workers during the party’s ‘Azadi March’ last year.

Imran said only three state agencies had the means to tap phones and alleged that the government blackmailed their opponents to achieve their political motives. “Deep fake videos are being made,” he deplored. “Phones are being tapped.”

The PTI chief said that according to the law, no government agency could tap any phone until it informed the interior minister who then had to seek permission from the court.

“In 1996, the Benazir government was removed and the court said one reason was the tapping of phones,” he said. “My three senior party leaders have told me that they are being blackmailed on the basis of videos.”

Imran stated that his phones were tapped when he was serving as the prime minister. “Tapping the premier’s line is against the Official Secrets Act and dangerous for the country.”

The former premier urged the judiciary to take action, terming the practice to be a “disease”. “Whenever they want to blackmail, they release a tape […] they are trying to control the people by blackmailing them.”

He appealed to the courts to save society from the menace of phone tapping and to bring forward whoever is responsible. “We have hopes from courts regarding this,” he said. “Dr Yasmin will also approach the relevant court regarding this.”

Rashid, meanwhile, said the audio was leaked because she was regularly following up on the JIT probing the assassination attempt on Imran.

“Dogar had clearly stated that it was an orchestrated attempt by three persons,” she said. “He had presented the evidence to the court.”

She said some JIT officers were blackmailed but Dogar “stuck to his guns”.

Talking about the evidence collected by the JIT, she said Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment DG Sohail Zafar Chatha was entrusted with “stealing the evidence record and locking it up”.

She alleged that Chatha was Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s right-hand man, adding that the PTI had approached the court to see the evidence that had been collected.

“The judge said he will send his prosecuting officers but when they went and checked, the entire evidence had disappeared and only 11 pages were left,” she added.

She questioned how her phone could be tapped. “Did Sanaullah go to court and seek permission for tapping [my phone]?” she said, terming it to be an attack on her fundamental rights.

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