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Marriyum presents unverified audio as proof of Imran’s corruption

Info min cites alleged audio of Malik Riaz, daughter as evidence of criminal nexus involving Imran, wife Bushra and her 'frontwoman' Farah Gogi
Published 06 Jun, 2022 06:04pm
<p>Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a press conference in Islamabad on June 06, 2022. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News</p>

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a press conference in Islamabad on June 06, 2022. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News

The federal government on Monday said that former prime minister Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and her close friend and alleged ‘frontwoman’ Farah Khan were part of a criminal nexus during the PTI tenure citing the recently surfaced ‘leaked audio’ as proof of her claim.

The leaked audio, which could not be verified by Aaj News, is of a converation purportedly between business tycoon Malik Riaz and his daughter. In it, the two discuss a diamond ring which had been turned down by the former first lady’s ‘frontwoman’ for not being at par with the then first lady’s stature. During the conversation, the feminine voice can be heard saying that three-carat diamond ring had been rejected by the first lady who wanted a ring studded with a five-carat diamond in return for certain favours sought by the property tycoon. Malik Riaz as well as the PTI has rejected the audio as fake while promising legal action.

Marriyum, addressing the media in Islamabad on Monday, said that the ‘leaked audio’ was proof that Farah Gogi, also known as Farah Khan and Farhat Shehzadi, served as a frontwoman for Imran Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi. “They charged money for everything from government contracts to postings and appointments, handing out seats and more.”

The audio surfaced on Sunday and was shared by PML-N leader and Punjab government spokesperson Ataullah Tarrar in a press conference on the same day. The PML-N leader offered to get a forensic audit carried out on the audio. He didn’t reveal the source of the audio nor shared why it hadn’t been forensically audited before being hailed as proof of corruption.

“We are not involved in such processes. People can lodge complaints with the FIA as we did when Maryam Nawaz’s audio surfaced on social media,” Marriyum Aurangzeb, the government spokesperson, said in reply to the query on the source of the leaked audio tape during her press conference on Monday.

The audio leak comes at a time when the PTI is on the cusp of a call for another long march to Islamabad amid an intensifying standoff with the coalition government.

The audio is the latest in a series of such ‘leaks’ that have targetted politicians as well as the judiciary. Only last week, another leaked audio - purportedly of a conversation between PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and media tycoon Malik Riaz - was widely reported by local media. In it, Riaz could be heard telling Zardari that Imran Khan had been sending reconcilitatory messages. The leaked audio has been rejected as fake by the parties concerned.

Similarly, another un-dated leaked audio, this time of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, did the rounds on social media. In it, a voice attributed to Maryam can be heard giving instructions regarding advertisements to the media. Prior to that, another audio did the rounds in which one man, purportedly former CJP Saqib Nisar, can be heard giving instructions to another judge regarding the Avenfield case.

Only one of those audios, the one pertaining to the CJP, was forensically audited and found to be false.

Accussations galore

“Every money trail leads to Bani Gala (residence of Imran Khan). Corrupt practices were followed at his residence,” Marriyum said and accused the PTI of diverting attention from fundamental issues. She said that PTI leaders should resign from parliament if they want fresh elections.

She responded to criticism levelled against the PML-N led government that is was using advertisements to curry favour with media houses.

“It is our prerogative to issue advertisements, which are good for public interest and I know how to defend it,” she said. The PTI has filed a petition against the incumbent government’s advertisements on PM Shehbaz’s trip to Turkey

“We are clearing more than Rs3 billion of advertisement dues of PTI,” Marryium continued. She blamed the PTI for ‘ending’ foreign investments. She said that the PTI had jailed Turkish investors, stalling the investment process that started during the PML-N tenure.

Regarding a PTI lawmaker’s threat to blow himself up in case something happens to Imran Khan, she said such individuals cannot be part of the grand dialogue and charter of economy, as announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday.

Marriyum also added that the vetting of civil servants by the ISI officers was the usual practice in the promotion of government officers.

“The details of the letter will be brought to the cabinet and discussed,” she said to another query over the release of $140 million for Malik Riaz by the former cabinet via a sealed envelope.

Marriyum Aurangzeb

imran khan

Farah Khan

bushra bibi

audio leak

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