PM Shehbaz announces formation of high-level body to probe audio leaks

PM Shehbaz announces formation of high-level body to probe audio leaks

Islamabad (Web Desk): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday termed the purported surfacing of an audio leak of the Prime Minister House as a 'serious security lapse' and announced that it would be thoroughly investigated.

Addressing a presser alongside his cabinet members in Islamabad, the premier said that a big question mark was posed over the audio leak and informed that he was taking a notice it and would be forming a high-powered committee to fully probe it and unearth facts.

The prime minister further said that visitors from the foreign countries would also feel uncomfortable if the conversations were bugged in the official places and such breaches of cyber secrecy were related to matter of respect of 220 million Pakistanis.

The announcement came a day after PM Shehbaz summoned the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on September 28 to discuss audio leaks.

It is pertinent to mention that audio recordings of purported conversations between key government figures, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz and some federal cabinet members, discussing governance matters privately surfaced over the weekend, prompting concerns over the security of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The audios drew sharp criticism from the opposition, which expressed concerns over the security of the PMO. However, several government ministers had insisted that the audios pointed to no wrongdoing.

To a query, PM Shehbaz said that the country was passing through 'a state of war on the economic front' and the coalition government was fully endeavoring to set the national economy right.

“Rest assure, we will not run away and will put it on the right path,” he emphasized.

PM Shehbaz said that the coalition government had focused on the economic situation and striving day and night to improve the economic conditions, therefore, they had no time for setting the political scores with Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf chief (PTI) chief Imran Khan.

If he had spent half of the time of his government on strengthening the economy, there might be some improvement, the premier  regretted without naming Imran Khan.

Shehbaz said that Imran did not spare any chance in “dividing the army and institutions”, highlighting that the PTI chief was creating polarisation which could take the country towards destruction.

"This is an alarm bell. This man is a risk to the country."

Commenting on the controversy surrounding the next army chief’s appointment, the premier said that he will follow the procedure laid in the Constitution and law for the appointment of the new military head.

Responding to a question on appointing the army chief with consensus, he said: “Did he [Imran Khan] consult us when he extended the tenure of the army chief? We will follow the Constitution and law.”

On criticism about discussing “sensitive matters” with ruling party supremo Nawaz Sharif in London, PM Shehbaz said that he didn’t see anything wrong in consulting Nawaz Sharif.

"What’s the point of criticising my talks with Nawaz? He is my leader and I discussed Pakistan issues with him," Shehbaz asserted.

Describing his meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) moot in Samarkand, Uzbekistan and 77th session of the UN General Assembly as “encouraging”, PM Shehbaz said Pakistan had come out of international isolation due to the efforts of the coalition government.

"By straining relations with various countries, the previous (PTI) government had put Pakistan in isolation."

PM Shehbaz said he had fruitful meetings with the world leaders, especially the heads of state of China and Russia, who also pledged aid for Pakistan's flood-hit population.

Responding to a query, PM Shehbaz categorically said that the general elections would be held on time and ruled out any threats to the coalition government.