If the PM’s house is not secure, how can the people of Pakistan rely on officials for their security? These statements were raised in local channels and TV debates in Pakistan, after the release of leaked audio clip of Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan PM on the Dark Web. On 24th September 2022, several audio clips, allegedly recorded in the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad, were leaked online. “I will be releasing ALL files this Friday,” says a dark web message warning of more Pakistan audio leaks. The leaked audio is up for auction on Dark Web. Pakistan’s Intelligence sources have not said anything and are perplexed by this new development as they are yet to claim the credibility of the sources.
Nature of the Leaked Audio of Pakistan PM
The available audio on the dark Web contains interactions with journalists, government officers, premier military personnel also between the first family and extended families. A Twitter handle named Azhar Mashwani from Pakistan has tweeted some of the audio clips, one of which is related to the demand of Maryam Nawaz to Shehbaz Sharif to clear the way for her son-in-law`s machinery import from India. Also during the conversation, the PM house officials were heard saying to Shehbaz Sharif not to import plants from India as it will hurt the reputation of the government.Refuting any illegal act in importing Power Plant from India, the Pakistan Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Sunday said the audio leak has proved that neither an illegal act was committed nor any undue advantage was given to anyone.” There is a high court order on the installation of grid station on 18 July 2022,” further clarifying on the issue, she also mentioned that the power plant was under the policy formulated during the Imran Khan’s Tenure.PTI leaders criticised the inefficient security agencies, Fawad Chaudhary claimed that the 100 hours long conversation is up for auction on the dark Web for around 28 crores ($3.5million). “Even the office of the prime minister of the nuclear-armed country is not safe”, Mr. Chaudhary told the media.
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Leaked Audio Clip of Shehbaz Sharif on Dark Web : Inside story
The leak has sparked a debate over the intentions of this incident, is it a conspiracy by someone to defame the ruling regime? To blackmail the government for certain decisions? or a cyber attack by someone in lust for some ransom. One aspect of this can be traced by following the words of PTI leader Mirza Shehbaz Akbar who said that it is an insider’s job who wants to influence the decision-making before crucial appointments.” First it’s not a hack into the system (and) hacker (and) dark web seems like a cover story, our systems are based on analog and not digital that’s one way of Pak cyber security,” he said. He added that the timing of the leak was important “as it`s just before the crucial appointment, the target seems clear to influence the decision, which way though only time will tell!”. Some have also targeted the country’s military for the leak, as they secretly record politicians’ conversations to blackmail them. Former Lawmaker Bushra Gohar who blamed the Pakistan Military for the leaked audio, told German news agency Deutsche Welle “It is a serious matter that even the PM’s office isn’t safe for any kind of security meeting. The audio contents are being discussed in public but no one is questioning the illegality of these recordings”.The former PM Imran Khan used this opportunity to target the government, he said that the Sharif family went for the illegal occupation of a power plant from India, and wanted to make a good relationship with India ignoring the struggle of the Kashmiri people. He also highlighted that 60% of the federal cabinet is facing corruption charges and the main motive of Sharif’s family is to hoard money and nothing else.One can’t deny the fact that there might be the possibility of involvement of PTI in this leak to push the government and security agencies on the back foot and to utilize it in gaining power in coming elections. The leaked audio clip of Shehbaz Sharif on dark web is also raising questions from the PTI Chairman Imran Khan as in one of the Audio clips he is heard saying to his then former principal secretary, Azam Khan that “We only have to play on this. We don’t have to name [any country]. We only have to play with this, that this date was [decided] before,” reported Dawn. As Khan was ousted from the PM post, after which he leveled it as a foreign conspiracy. PM Sharif has said that Imran Khan only brought this ‘foreign conspiracy ‘ to evade his responsibilities and to stir up anti-American sentiments.The possibilities are endless and time will tell what led to these audio leaks, which have raised pertinent questions on the integrity of the country’s highest office.After the heated political atmosphere, Pakistan Cabinet has announced a high-level inquiry into the audio leaks. A debugging operation was also conducted at the PMO as well.