NSC backs high-level probe into audio leaks

Interior minister to lead high-powered committee

The National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday approved the constitution of a high-powered committee to probe the recently surfaced audio leaks featuring candid conversations between key figures in the coalition government.

The meeting of the NSC, which is the highest forum for coordination on security issues, was chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. It was attended by ministers for defence, energy, information and broadcasting, interior, finance, human rights, planning, development and special initiatives, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, services chiefs, national security adviser and senior officers. According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the high-level committee will be headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah

The meeting tasked the Ministry of Law and Justice with preparing a legal framework about cyber-security.  During the meeting, the heads of the intelligence institutions gave a detailed briefing to the participants on the security of the PM’s House and other important places.

“The meeting was told that an investigation is being conducted on the issue of the audios circulating on social media. It was briefed about certain aspects related to the security of the Prime Minister’s House and the fool-proof arrangements taken to remedy them.” The statement read that the meeting’s participants were told that emergency measures were being taken to ensure the security of the Prime Minister’s House and other important places, buildings and ministries in order to “avoid any such situation in the future”.

Furthermore, the participants agreed to review the security, safety and security of government communications keeping in mind the current changing environment of modern technology and cyberspace to “ensure security and security systems are not breached”. The meeting reviewed flood relief measures and the current security situation.

The participants expressed grief over the loss of lives due to cataclysmic floods and offered condolences to the bereaved families. They also offered Fateha for the departed souls. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood briefed the gathering about the prime minister’s recent participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit and 77th United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

Maryam calls for stern action against Imran

Separately, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Wednesday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had left no stone unturned to destroy the country both at internal and external fronts. In a series of tweets, the PML-N leader alleged that Imran Khan’s ultimate aim was to create chaos and anarchy in the country as he had received millions of dollars from abroad for accomplishing the task.  It was worrisome that he had “received foreign funding and got training from abroad, and then played havoc with the country’s future”, but no action was taken against him, she added.

She said “all the crimes” committed by him had been proved and he was still playing with the people’s sentiments. “A stern action was required to be taken against him.” Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Wednesday alleged that Imran Khan was hell-bent upon dividing the nation as part of his “anti-state agenda”.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the federal cabinet, he said Imran Khan was creating anarchy and chaos in the country and the audio leak had fully exposed him before the nation.  “His so-called foreign conspiracy narrative of his removal from the Prime Minister’s Office had been done and dusted as Imran Khan could be heard in the audio clip asking Azam Khan (his principal secretary) to use the ‘cypher’ for political motives,” the minister added.

“The audio clip, which was also played during the press conference, showed how the PTI chief misled the people at the cost of national interests,” he remarked.

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