In a 2022 first, another leaked audio conversation between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and PML-N Leader Pervaiz Rashid has come to the surface.
Audio leak: “There is not one single person [journalist/analyst] whom we can call a spokesperson for the party,” Rashid
As per the leaked audio, Pervaiz Rashid, referring to how criticism was directed towards PML-N on a political talk show on Geo News, said to Maryam Nawaz, “They have a programme called ‘Score Card’ [Report Card], Hassan Nisar is a part of its [panel] he abuses us a lot.”
“They have added Irshad Bhatti as well,” added Maryam Nawaz. “Irshad Bhatti whom they have added gives derogatory remarks [against us],” said Rashid.
“Mazhar Abbas has a tilt against us in his comments. He criticises us and sometimes spins the conversation and makes fun of us, but it is primarily against us,” said PML-N leader Rashid.
Rashid lamented the fact that there was not one single person [journalist/analyst] whom they could call a spokesperson for the party.
“Sattar Babar [Babar Sattar] has his independent opinion,” said Rashid. “He [Babar Sattar] generally isn’t in our favour,” interjected Maryam.
“There was another one who didn’t give our point of view. Just like these people abuse us, he used to do the same to [Prime Minister (PM)] Imran Khan,” said Pervaiz Rashid. “Niazi [Hafeezullah Niazi]”, added Maryam Nawaz. “Yes, Niazi,” replied Rashid. “They have removed him and are not publishing his columns as well.”
“This is really unjust and cruel [behaiour] towards us,” said Rasheed.
At this point in the alleged audio, Maryam says she would first ask Niazi the reason for his removal from the panel and then take up the matter with Jang Group owner Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman.
“I will request you to ask Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, that why is this happening, in this way the programme will be unbalanced. There was one check on Imran Khan, you have stopped that and you have imposed barking dogs on us,” Rashid continued.
“You are absolutely right uncle, this is biasness towards us,” said Maryam Nawaz.
Towards the end of the clip, Maryam allegedly passes instructions that a pair of baskets that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif brought from Azerbaijan should be sent to journalists Nusrat Javeed and Rana Jawad.
“Maryam Nawaz has been trying to dictate the media in a rather stupid manner”: Fawad Chaudhry
The Current contacted Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry to provide the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) stance on the leaked audio.
“Many anchors consider themselves as God when they sit on TV channels. They speak against people,” said Fawad, adding “Language is very important. When one sits to analyse or critique on someone they should be careful with their words.”
“PML-N has been mananging the editorial policy. Maryam Nawaz has been trying to dictate the media in a rather stupid manner,” said Fawad.
In an exclusive conversation with The Current, the journalists and analysts who have been called out by the PML-N leadership had rather interesting revelations to make.
“I am not surprised. I stand by words and comments”, Journalist Mazhar Abbas
Senior Journalist Mazhar Abbas, while talking to The Current, said, “I am not surprised, be it Maryam Nawaz, Pervaiz Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry or anyone from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), I stand by my words and comments.”
Responding to the allegations of PML-N Abbas said, ” I do not spin my words, though I have been a left-arm leg spinner in my earlier days and that has nothing to do with my journalism.”
“I have been a journalist for 40 years and I am not bothered by the criticism of these politicians.”
Agreeing with Fawad Chaudhry, Abbas said that the use of proper language is very important but the minister needs to tell this to his party fellows as well.
Taking a jibe at PML-N, Abbas said, “The PML-N should also ponder on their own actions and the way they talk. I will not comment on the way they do it. I have my way of criticism. However, I shall want to correct Rashid Saab, the show he is talking about is called ‘Report Card’, not Score Card.”
“Fawad Chaudhry publically slaps anchors and now he is schooling us about language,” Columnist Hafeezullah Niazi
Columnist Hafeezullah Niazi while commenting on the leaked audio said, “This conversation is from 2017 after former PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit from Azerbaijan.”
“In 2017 Maryam Nawaz was handling the PML-N media cell. And this audio is of a private conversation. Whatever is being said in this audio is absolutely correct,” said Niazi.
“They have said the right thing about me. I used to come hard on Imran Khan. Unfortunately, some loose talk does take place on private news channels political talk shows,” said Niazi.
Reacting to the words of Fawad Chaudhry, Hafeezullah said, “Fawad Chaudhry publicly slapped anchors and now he is schooling us about language. Why didn’t he remember ethics and language then? He is taking out some old grievances with PML-N.”
Talking about the remarks of Pervaiz Rashid, and his derogatory words, Hafeezullah said, “Pervaiz Rashid talks like this. It’s his private style of talking. These talks weren’t for the public,” adding that Maryam Nawaz has never denied these conversations.
“Maryam’s fame in politics started with her managing the media cell of PML-N. Her career is from social media,” said Niazi.
The Current has also reached out to senior Journalist Hassan Nisar, Irshad Bhatti, and Geo News and we are still waiting for a response.