NSC huddle on leaks tomorrow

-Top Civil, Military leadership to participate in Wednesday’s meeting
-Imran claims another audio leak featuring Maryam on its way
-Fawad blames govt of buying data from hacker

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has summoned the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting to discuss matters related to national security including audio leaks allegedly featuring conversation of the premier with high-profile government officials.
PM Shehbaz and key members of his party and family became the centre of attention on Sunday after audio recordings purportedly of their conversation surfaced on social media.
The audios drew sharp criticism from the opposition, which expressed concerns over the security of the Prime Minister Office (PMO). However, several government ministers insisted that the audios pointed to no wrongdoing.
Soon after the audios surfaced, there was a storm on social media, many bashing the government and expressing shock at the way sensitive audios had purportedly leaked from the PMO. Also several TV channels also splashed their screens with the leaks.
According to an official statement issued on Monday, the NSC meeting will take place at the PM House on Wednesday. The top military and civilian leadership including defence minister, interior minister, information minister, finance minister and other important cabinet members will participate in the meeting.
The huddle will discuss flood situation, national security and other matters. According to the sources, the NSC meeting is expected to make important decisions in view of the audio leaks. The participants will also be briefed on the law and order situation of the country in the meeting. Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan Monday claimed that another audio leak of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz would come to the fore after back-to-back leaks of the ruling coalition leaders.
Speaking during an event, the former prime minister said that in the audio that will be leaked in the coming days, Maryam could be heard telling her father, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, that Imran will soon be disqualified in the Toshakhana reference.
“If they had a little shame, they would have resigned after their audio leaks. However, since they — Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his ministers — are not resigning, we will have to force them out,” the PTI chairman said. Khan’s claim came hours after PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry demanded the government launch a probe into audio leaks from the Prime Minister’s House.
Moving on, the former premier said that the PTI government negotiated with Russia to strike a deal on importing cheap oil and wheat, whereas, the incumbent rulers are in power just to “plunder money and move it abroad”, with no plans for relief for the people.
Calling Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja a servant of the Sharif family, Imran said free and fair elections were possible had Raja allowed the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
In a separate event in the city, the PTI chairman claimed that 60% of the federal cabinet’s members are facing corruption cases and that the country’s “biggest dacoits” have now become the rulers. Imran said that the PTI government was removed from power under the guise of inflation, however, currently, inflation had increased by 50%.
Separately, PTI demanded on Monday that the authorities investigate the audio leaks purportedly coming out of PM House as the party claimed that the government was trying to purchase the [stolen] data from a hacker to secure it.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said earlier that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an investigation into the audio leaks allegedly from PM House that feature government officials.
Security at PM House was called into question by the PTI – the biggest opposition party — after purported audio clips featuring government officials surfaced last week.
In a press conference, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, quoting the alleged hacker, said that they have not yet leaked an “explosive” audio.
“To date, the PM Office has not released a statement on the audio leaks. There are reports that the government is in talks with the hacker to secure the data,” the PTI leader said.
The former federal minister claimed that audio of 340 hours was leaked and no one batted an eye despite the PTI government equipping relevant authorities with the latest technology.
“Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office is not safe when it comes to cybersecurity and we condemn this. An investigation should be launched into the matter,” he demanded.
The former federal minister said two government officials — Rana Sanaullah and Marriyum Aurangzeb — had given statements in response to the audio leak, but they were “absurd”.