By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, Sep 26 (IANS): Pakistani politics is surrounded by backdoor engagements, closed door talks, public political rallies and massive challenges for the ruling quarters. But now, a new dimension has been added to the persisting uncertainty as a major security breach was witnessed after a leak of audio recordings suspected to be from the Prime Minister's House, putting more pressure on the incumbent Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government.
Audio clips of telephonic conversations between Sharif and an official of the Prime Minister's House has gone viral on social media, raising concerns over the secret tapping of calls and the alleged misuse of power for personal gains.
In the audio leaks, Sharif and the official are talking about the import of machinery from India illegally without getting approvals from the government quarters. And this is being discussed as per directives of the Maryam Nawaz, leader of Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif.
It has also been claimed by opposition PTI leader, Fawad Chaudhry that the audio leaks and about 8gb of data is up for sale on the dark web.
"Eight gb data of audio conversations of PM House is on sale on the dark web. The hacker has also claimed that conversations related to security are also in his possession. This is a serious serious matter of concern and an investigation needs to be launched immediately," he said.
The audio leaks have also attracted serious criticism from the opposition parties as well as some ally parties, who have raised questions over security.
"The audio leaks reveal that the Prime Minister's House is being misused for personal gains. And the main culprit behind it is Maryam Nawaz," former premier and PTI chief Imran Khan said.
On the other hand, Information Minister Mariyum Aurangzeb has stated that an inquiry may be launched into the matter after Shehbaz Sharif returns to Pakistan from London.
"The decision to hold an inquiry into the audio leaks will be taken up by the Prime Minister once he returns to Pakistan," she added.
However, a government official highlighted that the conversation in the audio does not reveal any wrongdoings.
"Nowhere in those audio clips was anyone talking about diamonds and gifts. There was nothing controversial in the audio from the ruling party's perspective," the official said.
This is not the first time that audio conversations have been leaked where public office holders are discussing strategies and plans against their political rivals.
But this current development comes at a time when Pakistan is going through its toughest politically uncertain times, coupled with worsening economic situation and Imran Khan's strong show of public strength, claiming to topple the government through another long march and protest sit-in if it does not hold early elections.