Over the last two weeks the country has witnessed several audio leaks – whether conversations between former prime minister Imran Khan and his confidants on the ‘Cablegate’ affair or the various conversations between the incumbent, Shehbaz Sharif, and his inner circle. Who leaked them is one issue but the question that also needs to be asked is why did they lea them at this time and what is their reason for doing so?
This is because the audios leaked “appear to have been carefully curated: they apply pressure but do not do major damage. Rather than being explosive or sensational, they seem to be warning that the leaker or leakers are in possession of kompromat on both sides and will go public with it if need be.” As an editorial in Dawn stated, “They are clearly not the work of an external party that is — one hesitates to use the word — neutral or unfamiliar with the subtleties of Pakistani politics.”
As the Editorial concludes, “no Pakistani citizen should be the subject of an illegal hacking, bugging or spying operation. Surveillance of any individual should only be done after formal authorisation by a competent authority — that too only when there is incontrovertible evidence of their involvement in hostile activity. The vast powers held by the country’s security apparatus should not be abused with impunity, as the interior minister suggests they are.”