Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said the audio leak of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has debunked the narrative that he was ousted from power through foreign conspiracy, noting that the former premier's "detestable face" was revealed to the entire nation.
A leaked audio tape purportedly of Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan has surfaced in which he is talking about how to exploit the controversial cypher from the Pakistani envoy to Washington to portray his ouster in a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly in April as a conspiracy.
The clip making rounds on social media features a conversation between Khan and his then principal secretary Azam Khan about a cypher sent by Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington Asad Majeed about his meeting with a US official.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Donald Lu was the central figure in Khan's claims about a US-backed regime-change conspiracy.
He accused Lu of threatening Pakistan's former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, that a failure to remove Khan through a no-confidence vote would herald "consequences" for Pakistan and vice versa.
Addressing a ceremony after laying the foundation stone of the Bhara Kahu bypass in Islamabad, Prime Minister Sharif accused Khan of deceiving the nation by making false claims.
"Till when will [your] lies survive ... I don't think there can be a more heinous crime," he said.
"Everything became clear after Wednesday's audio leak," Sharif said, adding that Khan's "detestable face" had been revealed to the entire nation.
Sharif said he had not seen a "more irresponsible person and a bigger liar" than Khan during the "40 years that I spent under the leadership of my elder brother".
Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
Referring to the audio leak, Sharif accused his predecessor of asking his then-principal secretary to "hatch a conspiracy against Pakistan".
"And Imran even conspired to divide the country's institutions," he alleged.
"There are no two ways about it. But the worst conspiracy against Pakistan was him defaming the country's politicians by labelling them as traitors," he lamented.
Sharif went on to add that Pakistan was "ashamed" because of Imran lying about a foreign conspiracy narrative to oust his government.
Sharif said Imran's allegations were "the worst conspiracy against Pakistan".
In the leaked audio, Khan is heard as saying: "We only have to play on this (cypher). We don't have to name [any country]. We only have to play with this, that this date (of no-trust motion) was [decided] before (it was moved against him)." The second voice is apparently of Azam Khan who is heard as suggesting holding a meeting on the cypher.
"See, if you recall, in that the ambassador has written in the end to [send] a demarche. Even if the demarche is not to be sent, as I have thought a lot about it at night - you said they raised it - I thought about how to cover all this.
"Let's hold a meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi (who was the foreign minister in Imran's government) and the foreign secretary. Shah Mahmood Qureshi will read out that letter and whatever he reads out will be converted into a copy. I will then make minutes [out of it and say] that the foreign secretary has prepared this.
"But its (cypher's) analysis will have to be conducted here. We will carry out the analysis and convert it into minutes as we want so that it becomes [part of] the official record," says the former principal secretary.
The leak is the latest in the string of audio tapes of conversations recorded in the Prime Minister's House.
On Friday, authorities completed debugging the Prime Minister's House in the wake of recent explosive audio leaks of secret conversations.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)