An audio recording of a supposed conversation between Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a government official was leaked on social media on Saturday. In the conversation, the premier allegedly asked the official to help PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
The opposition, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has now questioned the security of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) over the incident.
In the over two-minute-long audio clip, which PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry posted on Twitter on Saturday, a voice said to be that of PM Sharif can be heard saying that Maryam Nawaz Sharif had asked him to help her son-in-law Raheel import machinery for a power plant from India, reports Dawn.
PTI leaders claim that it shows the PM putting his family's business interests before those of the state.
"If we do so, we will get a lot of flak when this matter goes to the ECC and cabinet," the official can be heard saying.
The voice thought to belong to the PM says, "The son-in-law is very dear to Maryam Nawaz. Tell her very logically about this and then I will talk to her."
The same voice agrees that this would be bad for optics and could cause a lot of trouble politically.
It is worth noting that Maryam Nawaz's daughter Mehrunnisa married industrialist Chaudhry Munir's son Raheel in December 2015. The wedding was notable because it was also attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The other voice in the clip then brings up another matter related to the housing society belonging to Nawaz's son-in-law.
He says a grid station had to be installed in the Ittehad Park Housing Society, which the PM said should be dealt with in a "national way".
The government official also suggested that former finance minister Ishaq Dar should be engaged to deal with this matter, as he could handle it in a better way.
At the end of the purported audio, there is a mention of former Justice Maqbool Baqir, whose name was being considered as the next head of the National Accountability Bureau. The official is heard conveying to the premier the 'suggestion' of two media persons, asking him not to consider the former judge for the slot of NAB chairman, in view of their experience with former NAB chief Javed Iqbal, who was also a retired judge appointed by the PML-N government.
The second clip allegedly shows the prime minister, defense minister Khawaja Asif, law minister Azam Tarar, interior minister Rana Sanaullah, and former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq talking about PTI lawmakers leaving the lower house of parliament.
A third clip purportedly features a conversation between Maryam and PM Shehbaz regarding the return of former army chief retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.
PTI questions the PMO's security
PTI leaders were in overdrive questioning the PMO's security, as the government maintained its silence on the matter on Sunday,
PTI's Fawad said that the way the PMO data was offered up for sale on the dark web showed the state of the country's cybersecurity.
"This is a failure of our intelligence agencies, especially the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Obviously, apart from political issues, important discussions on security and foreign issues are now in everyone's hands," he remarked.
KP minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, who has also been a victim of an audio leak, said: "8 GB of hacked leaks from PMO. Regardless of who is speaking, this Orwellian culture of recordings is disgusting."
Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari said, "The leaked audios certainly reveal the influence of convict Nawaz Sharif and his convict-on-bail daughter in the running of this imported government, itself a cabal of crooks," she said.