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The NSC approves the establishment of a high-level committee to investigate PMO audio leaks

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On Wednesday, the National Security Committee (NSC) approved the formation of a high-level committee to investigate recent audio leaks containing candid talks between key coalition government figures and urged the Ministry of Law to develop a “legal framework” surrounding cyber security.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presided over the NSC meeting, the highest venue for security-related coordination. Ministers of defense, energy, information and broadcasting, interior, finance, human rights, planning, development, and special initiatives, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee, the chiefs of the services, the national security adviser, and senior officers, attended.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah will lead the high-level committee.

During today’s meeting, the leaders of the intelligence agencies briefed the attendees on protecting the PM’s residence and other significant locations.

“The meeting was informed that an investigation is being launched into the matter of the social media-disseminated audios. In addition, it was briefed on some security-related aspects of the Prime Minister’s residence, and the foolproof measures are taken to address them.”

The attendees of the meeting were informed that emergency measures were being taken to secure the security of the Prime Minister’s House and other significant sites, buildings, and ministries to “prevent a similar situation in the future.”

It stated that the NSC authorized the Ministry of Law to develop a “legal framework” for cyber security following deliberation.

In addition, the participants agreed to assess government communications’ security, safety, and security in light of the rapidly evolving environment of contemporary technology and cyberspace to “guarantee that security and security systems are not compromised.”

The incident comes after audio recordings of crucial government players — including PM Shehbaz, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, and certain federal cabinet members — discussing governance matters privately over the weekend, increasing fears regarding the Prime Minister’s Office’s security (PMO).

On Saturday, a tape of Shehbaz talking with an unnamed official about the potential of enabling the import of Indian machinery for a power project that Raheel, the son-in-law of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, was concerned about surface.

On Sunday, further recordings about Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and the resignations of PTI MPs from the National Assembly surfaced. Several PTI politicians published these recordings on social media.

One footage depicts a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the prime minister over Miftah, in which a voice believed to belong to the latter states that Miftah “doesn’t know what he’s doing” and calls for the return of PML-N veteran Ishaq Dar.

A second film involves a conversation between the prime minister, defense minister Khawaja Asif, law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, interior minister Rana Sanaullah, and Ayaz Sadiq regarding the resignations of PTI lawmakers.

A third recording allegedly depicts a conversation between Maryam Nawaz and Prime Minister Shehbaz requesting the return of former army head retired Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

On Tuesday, PM Shehbaz branded the disclosure of audio leaks a “very severe lapse” and announced the formation of a high-level committee to investigate the incident.

Earlier today, a video began circulating on social media purporting to show a conversation between what is believed to be the former premier, Imran Khan, and his former principal secretary, Azam Khan, about a cipher that the PTI leader has long cited as proof of a “foreign conspiracy” to remove him from office.

Imran is heard saying in the audio clip, “We need only play on this. We are not required to name [any nation]. This date was [chosen] in advance, so we merely need to play with this.”

Flood condition

During today’s meeting, the NSC also examined the flood situation in the country and offered condolences to the families of those who perished in the disaster.

The PMO statement states, “The meeting discussed the efforts to give emergency relief, transfer to safe locations, food, medical treatment, and essential supplies to almost 33 million flood victims.”

“The National Security Council paid respect to the officers and soldiers who died in the crash of an army aviation helicopter in Lasbela, Balochistan, while assisting flood victims, and stated that the nation salutes the martyrs and their families.”

In addition, it reaffirmed that relief and rehabilitation efforts for flood victims would continue to be a national priority.

Sohail Mehmood briefed the gathering on the prime minister’s recent attendance at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Uzbekistan and the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.