The National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday approved the constitution of a high-level committee to probe the recently surfaced audio leaks featuring candid conversations between key figures in the coalition government and instructed the Ministry of Law to prepare a “legal framework” regarding cyber security.
The meeting of the NSC, which is the highest forum for coordination on security issues, was chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. It was attended by ministers for defence, energy, information and broadcasting, interior, finance, human rights, planning, development and special initiatives, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, services chiefs, national security adviser and senior officers.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the heads of the intelligence institutions gave a detailed briefing to the meeting on the security of the PM’s house and other important places.
“The meeting was told that an investigation is being conducted on the issue of the audios circulating on social media. It was briefed about certain aspects related to the security of the Prime Minister’s House and the fool-proof arrangements taken to remedy them.”
The statement reads that the meeting’s participants were informed that emergency measures were being taken to ensure the security of the Prime Minister’s House and other important places, buildings and ministries in order to “avoid any such situation in the future”.
It said that after consultation, the NSC’s participants directed the Law Ministry to prepare a “legal framework” related to cyber security.
“The meeting approved the formation of a high-powered committee to investigate the issue of audio leaks. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan will head it.”
Furthermore, the participants agreed to review the security, safety and security of government communications keeping in mind the current changing environment of modern technology and cyberspace to “ensure security and security systems are not breached”.
The development comes after audio recordings of conversations between key government figures — including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and some members of the federal cabinet — discussing governance matters privately surfaced over the weekend, prompting concerns over the security of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
On Saturday, a recording of PM Shehbaz surfaced where he could be heard speaking with an unidentified official about the possibility of facilitating the import of Indian machinery for a power project that was a concern of Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Raheel.