• Interior Minister defends surveillance to expose crime

    Interior Minister File photo Interior Minister

    Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday said that any recording — video or audio — made to expose a person's criminal offences or misdeed could not be considered a crime, unless it was done to blackmail someone.

    "The reality is that if any recording, whether video or audio, is made to catch someone's crime, then in my view it is no crime. If it is used to blackmail someone, then it is a crime," he said in a press conference.

    "No one can even claim that it is a violation of their privacy," the minister asserted.

    His comments come as a reference to the purported audio clip of Bushra Bibi, former prime minister Imran Khan's wife, and PTI social media head Dr Arslan Khalid that has been doing the rounds on social media.

    In the alleged clip, Bushra Bibi could be heard telling Dr Khalid that Imran had asked him to run trends on social media declaring political opponents as "traitors".

    As per the clip, Dr Khalid was told to declare “Aleem Khan and others” traitors on social media as they would be speaking against the PTI chief. According to the clip, the former first lady also asked the PTI social media head to raise the issue of the 'cipher' on social media. She also allegedly asked Dr Khalid to highlight the issue of the government not buying oil from Russia which was akin to “betrayal”.

    Dr Khalid was allegedly instructed by Bushra Bibi that these issues should not be hushed down and that trends should be generated to highlight how “Imran Khan and the country were being betrayed”.

    In the purported clip, Bushra Bibi also allegedly told Arslan Khalid to link criticism against her and Farah Khan, a friend of the former first lady who flew out of Pakistan in April, with treason. As per the clip, Dr Khalid assured the ex-first lady that the social media team would follow the instructions and label the PTI critics “traitors”.

    A day after the audio clip surfaced, PTI leaders Shireen Mazari and Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the phones of Imran and his family were being tapped and called the clip a breach of law.

    At a press conference in Islamabad today, Sanaullah said that the audio clip proved that Bushra Bibi was "involved in a crime". "A lady of an important status is linking the entire opposition and the nation with treason over a letter, which they (PTI) claimed came from America.

    "She is doing it to save herself from corruption. She is explaining how it can done with a proper procedure, with proper planning and training," he stated, adding that no questions could be raised on such a recording.

    But if PTI claimed that the recording was false, the minister continued, then Imran should straight up refute it and demand a forensic examination.

    "Instead, his party members say that the content of the audio doesn't matter. If the recording is fake, they should say that it is fake so that an investigation is held to prove who is right and who isn't."