ISLAMABAD: In a tweet, Mr Sharif said the audiotape of alleged telephone conversation between PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain had exposed the former prime minister’s hypocrisy and double standards, adding that the PTI chief’s lies now stand exposed.
The leaked audio recording, in which the voices believed by many to be of Mr Zardari and Mr Hussain, was widely broadcast by electronic media and went viral on social media on Saturday. Mr Hussain could be heard telling Mr Zardari that Imran Khan was desperate for a “patch-up” with him.
In his tweet, PM Sharif said the purported audiotape had “exposed” Mr Khan. “The audio tape that surfaced recently exposes Imran Khan’s hypocrisy and double standards. Contrary to his claims, he sought NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to save himself and his government.
“The fake story of foreign conspiracy was manufactured after all his efforts failed. His lies stand exposed,” the prime minister said.
The PML-N’s official Twitter account said that Imran Khan was “begging opposition leaders for the NRO while publicly [he is] creating a completely opposite perception”. It termed the PTI leader’s move “hypocrisy”.
Purported audio recording
In the almost 32-second conversation, the date and time of which is not confirmed, Mr Hussain can be heard telling Mr Zardari that Imran had been sending him messages, asking him to help “patch up” with the PPP.
“Today, he [Imran Khan] has sent too many messages,” the unknown man, believed to be the property tycoon, told the former president, who in response said: “It is impossible now.”
“It’s okay. I just wanted to bring this into your notice,” said Mr Hussain’s alleged voice.
There is no official word from Mr Hussain over the development yet.
The purported recording comes two days after the PTI chairman abruptly ended a planned anti-government sit-in in Islamabad amid speculation of behind-the-scenes contacts between him and the establishment.
On the other hand, the PTI has termed the audio “fake”.
PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday described the audio tape as fake and engineered.
Similarly, the party’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill tweeted that the audio recording was a “lie” and “far from reality”. “A businessman and an opponent of Imran Khan are talking about things that have nothing to do with reality. Imran Khan does not require an NRO. Instead, all these people kept seeking an NRO [from Imran] which they didn’t get,” Dr Gill said.
He said: “This story is a lie…. at least, a strong script should have been written.”
Meanwhile, senior PPP leaders said they were not aware of the timing of the purported phone call, but they could confirm that Malik Riaz Hussain had been playing the role of a mediator since the tabling of no-confidence resolution against Imran Khan in the National Assembly by the then opposition parties.