Following several audio leaks that went viral on social media and reports that a hacker sold a vast database of recorded conversations on the dark web, including those of current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his predecessor, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) has been directed to investigate the alleged bugging of the Prime Minister’s House. This is most certainly the greatest and most damaging leak of Pakistani political secrets.
The discussion between Sharif and his PS, Tauqeer Shah, was hacked and shared on social media. In it, the PS was caught saying that Maryam Nawaz had asked him to assist her son-in-law, Raheel Munir, with the procurement of power plant equipment from India. These stolen audio samples were aired by several news sources and Twitter accounts and have yet to be removed.
According to the audio recording, Tauqeer Shah warned that the import facilitation would spark controversy. The Prime Minister agreed with him and instructed his press secretary to inform Maryam of the same, adding that he would also speak with her about it. According to Maryam, Raheel’s housing society also required the construction of a grid station. Sharif is heard saying that the matter should be addressed “nationally.” The leaked conversations indicate that these were face-to-face encounters rather than phone calls, and the PM’s house is most likely where the bugging device was installed.
Surprisingly, this breach occurred despite the fact that it is common to inspect the Prime Minister’s office and house on a daily basis to determine whether any bugging devices have been installed. The IB, which is in charge of managing the security of the Prime Minister, his office, and his house, has created a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with which this search adheres. As a result, as PTI leader Mirza Shahzad Akbar noted on Twitter, it would not be pathetic to claim that this was an insider’s card.
It was undeniably an inside job. The time is critical since it comes just before an important appointment, and the purpose is plainly to influence the decision. Only time will tell which way it will go!
This reminds me of a similar circumstance when Nawaz Sharif was prime minister and security was on high alert. When the Supreme Court hearing on the Panama Papers case was taking place, a spy drone would fly above PM’s personal complex, and then over the IB Headquarters, which is located next door. The organization investigated the matter and told the individuals involved that the drone would be shot down if it was sent out again.
Ansar Abbasi reported on the espionage issue in 2010 as well. The Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the Federal Secretariat buildings, and even the interior ministry in the Red Zone of the city were allegedly being bugged by certain foreign missions and their operators.
Ansar Abbasi’s report cited a top government official in charge of internal security as saying that certain foreign missions and operators were snooping on virtually all of the top government offices surrounding the presidency using modern bugging technology that uses rays to listen to what is discussed in a closed-door meeting even at a distance of half a kilometer.
In the third audio clip, Maryam Nawaz and Shahbaz Shareef discuss Pervez Musharraf’s declining health and how the government should not block him from visiting Pakistan if such preparations exist.
The cabinet meeting was delayed by two hours owing to unexpected waves detected by security officials. According to Ansar Abbasi’s testimony, the meeting did not start until the location was secured. Even at the time, the nation’s security agencies discovered that certain waves were emanating from the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, indicating unequivocally that something was being installed from the Diplomatic Enclave and directed towards the PM Secretariat in order to record the conversation from a safe distance.