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EditorialAudio leaks and government's silence

Audio leaks and government’s silence

We are living in the age of audio leaks, but the latest leak of a conversation between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a purported government official raises serious questions on the security of the chief executive of the country. During the previous government, several audio tapes of Maryam Nawaz were leaked to the media. The trend continued during the coalition government when an audio tape of the conversation of former minister Shaukat Tarin with the finance ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa came to light, leaving everyone concerned about the privacy of phone calls. Consecutive governments did not take the issue of phone bugging seriously for political reasons, but the latest leaks just point to the prevailing spy culture in the country. The audio of the government officials and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the business deals of Maryam Nawaz’s son-in-law was the talk of the town on Saturday. The two-minute-long audiotape reveals that Maryam Nawaz had requested him to help her son-in-law Raheel import machinery for a power plant from India. On Sunday, more alleged audio tapes showing governing coalition figures emerged. The Sunday recordings are about beleaguered Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who is the subject of a chat between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier. The clip indicates the imminent return of former finance minister Ishaq Dar and the ensuing pack-up of Miftah Ismail.

As it is said that a hacker obtained a vast amount of data on chats and phone calls of the governing family and members, several recordings may circulate on social media in the coming days. Putting politics aside, the administration was taking the leaks “extremely seriously” and requesting a probe into the phone tapping and private conversations at the PMO. Since even the PM House is not secure, this is a breach of the confidentiality of government correspondence. Who is behind all of this is a crucial issue that has to be answered. Who is trying to attack the PM House? The silence of the government throughout the whole scenario is troubling.

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