In leaked audio that has gone viral on social media, former interior minister Sheikh Rasheed could be heard asking a person whether he made a "payment" to persuade PML-N leader Jalil Sharaqpuri to resign from his seat in the Punjab Assembly.
"Did you make the payment to Sharaqpuri?" the AML chief said in the audio, where he could be heard speaking to a person named Gul Zaman.
After the audio made rounds on social media and the ex-interior minister came under fire, he accepted that the audio was, indeed, original and it was his voice, but he said that he was merely "joking" and was "not serious".
"There was no exchange of money," Rasheed said.
The political tensions have risen in Punjab due to the make-or-break by-elections on 20 hotly-contested constituencies, which will decide who will take the reins of the province.
Despite every seat being necessary for the PML-N to maintain its power in Punjab and Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz's fate hanging in the balance, Sharaqpuri sent his resignation a day earlier to the Punjab Assembly speaker.
In a video message released after the audio went viral, Sharaqpuri, speaking while taking an "oath", said that Rasheed was a "fraud".
"Sheikh Rasheed is Imran Khan's enemy [...] Sheikh Rasheed is spewing lies at the behest of someone," the PML-N leader said.
In response, Zaman confirmed that he had a conversation with Rasheed but noted that he told the former interior minister to not speak about Sharqpuri.
"Neither do I know who Jalil Sharqpuri is, nor have I met him," Zaman said in a statement, adding: "I do not know what Rasheed was thinking at that moment."
Distancing himself from the matter, Zaman said that he has a friendship with Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, spanning over 25 years.