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Monday, February 26, 2024  
15 Shaban 1445  

How audio leaks overshadowed major political events

The leaks began with the turn of the calendar, both PTI and PMLN were targeted
Representational image
Representational image

The year 2022 would go down in Pakistan’s political history as one of the most eventful years, yet a series of audio leaks overshadowed even some of those consequential events. With the latest leaked clip — purportedly the recording of a phone conversation between Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi and PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari — having made headlines on Thursday, several people were found questioning its timing. Many PTI supporters believe it was meant to distract people from the court hearing of Arshad Sharif case.

But this is not the only audio clip whose leak was timed carefully to coincide with another key event. The leaks began to emerge with the turn of the calendar and both PTI and PML-N were targeted. Apparently, the clips were aimed at denting the political standing of the two parties or hampering what they were trying to achieve.

The following chronology of audio leaks lists major events that coincided with each of the leaks.

  1. January 4, 2022

    Maryam Nawaz's alleged media management

    The leak:

    A leaked audio purportedly exposes the media management of PMLN leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

    The PTI is still in power.

    The other big event:

    The Election Commission of Pakistan reveals that PTI tried to keep lid on foreign accounts.

  2. June 5, 2022

    Diamond ring for the then-First Lady

    The leak:

    Audio clip of an alleged conversation between Malik Riaz and his daughter is leaked. They are discussing how they had to gift an expensive diamond ring to Bushra Bibi, the wife of Imran Khan, in return for certain favours. Maryam Nawaz holds a press conference on the audio the next day.

    The other big event:

    President refuses to sign NAB, election laws amendment bills passed by PDM-controlled parliament. PTI denounces the two amendments. Another key issue is a fire that rages several in KP districts.

  3. September 25, 2022

    PM House bugged

    The leak:

    Audio recording of a PML-N meeting at PM House is leaked. Reports say over 100 audios from PM House (a total of 8GB data) have been leaked to the darknet.

    The other big event:

    Government prepares to deal with a possible PTI march on Islamabad. PML-N also decides that Dar, who faces court cases, will be made the finance minister.

  4. September 28, 2022

    Imran Khan wants to 'play it up'

    The leak:

    Imran Khan’s audio conversation from the days when he was the prime minister is leaked. He is purportedly heard telling his top bureaucrat Azam Khan to “play up” the issue of diplomatic cipher.

    The other big event:

    Dar has returned and taken oath despite PTI protests. Financial security is a serious issue now. NSC, corps commanders, and federal cabinet have meetings on same day, Bilawal is meanwhile calling on Afghan Taliban to force TTP into talks.

  5. October 7, 2022

    Two audio leaks in a day

    The leak:

    Two audio leaks of Imran Khan appear on the same day. These are from the days when he was still in the prime minister house, where the recordings were allegedly made.

    Khan appears to show his willingness to engage in horse-trading and to salvage his government. He also wants to ‘spoon feed’ people his narrative of foreign conspiracy.

    The other big event:

    PTI lawmakers are being arrested in the prohibited funding case.

    The government is trying to repass the laws on election and NAB that president had blocked.

    Imran Khan is pressing for snap election.

  6. October 29, 2022

    Fears of violence

    The leak:

    A leaked audio clip attributed to PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur reveals alleged plan to storm Islamabad with Gandapur’s private gunmen.

    The other big event:

    PTI begins its long march on Islamabad from Lahore. The government claims there is the possibility of violence and bloodshed.

  7. December 8, 2022

    Arshad Sharif case or more watches

    The leak:

    In a leaked audio Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi tells Zulfi Bokhari to sell some of Khan’s watches because does not use them.

    The other big event:

    Arshad Sharif’s case hearing makes headlines and government and PTI are also found exploring backdoor talks. Toshakhana case is also being heard by Islamabad High court, Imran Khan’s decision on dissolution of assemblies is awaited by everyone.

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