August Issue 2015
Cover Story: Big Brother’s Watching
Veteran politician Javed Hashmi has just ended a stormy press conference against his own party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), indicating a conspiracy involving some serving army officials behind the PTI’s protest against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government.
The phone rings. At the other end is Akram Sheikh, a prominent lawyer and Nawaz Sharif’s legal counsel in several court cases.
Javed Hashmi (JH): Greetings
Akram Sheikh (AS): May Allah bless you with a healthy and long prosperous life… You’ve made us all proud. You’ve done Akram Sheikh very proud [referring to his decision to resign from the PTI].
JH: [starts hurling abuses at the Sharif brothers for ruining his career]
AS: Do you know that Sarwar, who is the governor [Chaudhry Sarwar, then governor of Punjab and now with the PTI] was in the London meeting [between Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan]?
JH: What was he doing at the meeting?
AS: Believe me, he is hunting with the hound and running with the hare.
The conversation lasts for three to four minutes. The audio is of excellent quality. You can hear everything clearly, even the background noise. Obviously, those recording what was supposed to be a private conversation had the best equipment deployed for this high-tech bugging.
These excerpts, from a telephone call (originally in Urdu) between Javed Hashmi and Advocate Akram Sheikh, whose audio recording is available with Newsline, are the tip of the iceberg of information that intelligence agencies gather every day from terabytes of data that passes through the country’s various mediums of communication, whether personal or digital.
This telephone call was reportedly tapped by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), a civilian intelligence agency operating under the federal government. (Reportedly another conversation between PTI chief Imran Khan and his close confidant Arif Alvi, in which they were trying to bring the Muttahida Qaumi Movement — a party they love to hate in public — on board for their dharnas, was released through SoundCloud and engendered quite a scandal).
Read the full story in the Newsline August 2015 print issue.
The author is an Islamabad-based journalist and has been associated with various media houses, including Geo, Sach TV, AbbTakk News and Capital TV.