Pakistan’s deep state – its military-intelligence complex – have dominated the country for too long. in today’s worsening political divide, it appears that the intelligence agencies have been given a free hand. While the government may be delighted over the recent audiotape leaks, it forgets that its own leaders too are being watched by the intelligence agencies and similar leaks could be used to undermine the coalition parties.
As author and columnist Zahid Hussain notes, “the season of audiotape leaks is upon us, giving a sordid twist to power politics in the country. The leaked private telephonic conversations are not only being used to undermine political rivals but also to discredit state institutions and public office holders. Even judges and their families are not spared this baseness. It is only getting uglier.”
Hussain notes, “the entire episode also brings into question the role of the intelligence agencies. They are certainly not free agents and are a part of the security establishment. It is evident that the latest spree of audio leaks, mainly targeting PTI leaders, is part of a clear political agenda. The latest leaks simply reinforce the impression that the agencies are deeply involved in the ongoing game of power politics.”
While Hussain clarifies, “it may not be for the first time that the telephones of prominent political leaders and other public office holders have been tapped by the intelligence agencies. However, the trend shows no let-up. In fact, the brazen use of audiotapes as a political tool to undermine political leaders has been on the rise. Even audiotapes of meetings at the Prime Minister’s Office have been leaked.”
In conclusion, Hussain states, “illegal wiretapping must be stopped, and the power of the intelligence agencies checked. The growing trend of audio leaks is a symptom of a fragile state that is unable to protect the basic human and democratic rights of the people. The increasing power of the intelligence agencies and the security establishment is nothing short of ominous.”