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Audio Leaks of bugging of PM Office— When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers

By Agha Iqrar Haroon

Audio Leaks of recordings of the Prime Minister’s Office of Pakistan have again testified to the vulnerability of politicians and the invisible iron grip over the entire system.

I recently wrote that whenever politicians think that they are free to work and free to live and they head democracy, they should read the poetry of Habib Jalab, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Ahmad Faraz to know who is supreme in the country and who are real rulers of Pakistan. For invisible rulers, every politician is equal once he or she tries to deny invisible masters.

Since today’s “Supreme” has the face of Imran Khan so I believe he will remain untouched even after an audio leak in which one can listen to him carefully how he had been playing with the fate of the country for his domestic political gains. I believe no action would be taken against federal government employees like former Principal Secretary of PM Azam Khan and Foreign Secretary Sohail Khan who is already retiring this week. Since both were helping Imran Khan to play with the country’s security, therefore they are also beyond any law of the land.

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Imran Khan was raised as a symbol of power who hates Pakistani politicians, dislikes the Parliamentarian system, and makes a mockery of the Constitution. He successfully gathered thousands of followers who believe Pakistani politicians are the reason for every ill that takes place in Pakistan. Failure of Imran Khan is not the failure of the project but losing an opportunity to taunt and disgrace the political system for another decade or so, therefore, Imran Khan is a great need of the system, and therefore he will remain popular, untouched, and politically successful. To sustain his popularity, he has been granted the right to abuse anybody —anybody including the sensitive institutions of the country. This part of his role can be the need of the theatre till the curtain drops. When this curtain drops, only the dramaturge knows.

There is a possibility that more audio leaks would come soon so the theatre will continue and a country of 222 million people will continue to suffer as grass suffers when elephants fight but this fight has a metaphysical aspect also because fighting elephants are invisible.

On September 28, 2022, the National Security Committee (NSC), met and approved the constitution of a high-powered committee led by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to probe the audio leaks. The meeting was attended by service chiefs, heads of intelligence agencies, and federal ministers. An official press release issued after the meeting mentioned that the meeting decided to prepare a “legal framework” about cyber-security and in that respect directed the Ministry of Law and Justice for the preparation of a legal framework. It was news to me that Pakistan has no legal framework to ensure the cyber security of the country. The press release did not mention that anybody was reprimanded from the system that was responsible for the security of the Prime Minister’s Office.

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Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was briefed about investigations that are underway and heads of intelligence agencies informed the PM security breach had been taken as very serious and a fool-proof security system would be installed at PM Office. Steps being taken to ensure the security of important places and buildings including the PM House and ministries were also discussed to avoid the bugging of government offices. The damage is already done. The bugging of the PM Office resulted in audio leaks. Reactive arrangements are in place. The inquiry will be held and the report would be prepared. We have a long history of preparing reports like the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report and Salala Incident Report but such reports had no follow-up actions. Nobody was reprimanded or punished.  I trust my agencies and they would come up with credible report sooner or later but action against culprits fall under the jurisdiction of the government. Will anybody be punished this time or will we continue to live with this style of governance?

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

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