'National security crisis': PTI demands probe into govt audio leaks

Fawad Chaudhry says phone tapping 'common'; criticises govt for being unable to manage its affairs


News Desk September 26, 2022
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry addresses press conference on Sept 26, 2022. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry on Monday described the audio leaks allegedly containing conversations between leaders from the coalition government as a “major security lapse” and called for a “thorough inquiry” into the matter.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and key members of his party and family became the centre of attention on Sunday after audio recordings purportedly of their conversation surfaced on social media.

The audio clips drew sharp criticism from the opposition, which expressed concerns over the security of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). However, several government ministers insisted that the clips pointed to no wrongdoing.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed that the conversations merely highlighted that “nothing illegal” had happened.

During a presser held earlier today, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry maintained that phone tapping had become unfortunately common in the country, causing a “national security crisis”.

He furthered that breaches such as this suggested "weak cybersecurity" in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and that anything could be leaked from there.

The PTI leader also alleged that the hacker who leaked the audio recording had claimed he had “more important” recordings which had not been released yet.

Quoting a local news channel, he stated that the federal government was in conversation with the hacker to prevent further audio leaks.

He called for an independent inquiry into the leaks and claimed that the former ruling party will present the recordings before the apex court. The recordings were played during the press conference with Fawad criticising the government for being unable to manage its affairs efficiently.

Fawad also demanded an official statement from the incumbent government.

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Moreover, the former minister insisted on action against PM Shehbaz for supposedly facilitating the procurement of machinery from India on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) scion Maryam Nawaz’s suggestion, as one of the audios allegedly unveiled.

“A reference in the National Accountability Bureau must be filed against the premier for allegedly misusing his authority. The National Assembly speaker must summon the PM and other members of the national assembly before the privilege committee to answer about it,” he added.

Earlier the minister had taken to his official Twitter account to state that more than 100 hours of PMO talks were available and that “our agencies would look into sensitive issues if they got free time from political tasks”.

Former planning minister Asad Umar said that “if there was any doubt of the nexus between the chief election commissioner and imported govt, there is none left after the latest audio leaks”.

PTI ally and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid claimed that the “founders” of the tradition of leaking audio and videos have become targets of it themselves.

“Maryam is the target and Shehbaz has to be saved,” he said, adding that the countdown had begun till the government held elections in October and would be sent home.

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