ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Pakistan has filed a case against Pakistan’s former finance minister Shaukat Tarin for sedition after audio leaks.
The case was opened after two audio leaks appeared in August, in which a man believed to be Tarin was heard advising the finance ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to tell the central government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that they could not promise a surplus budget due to the damage caused by monsoon floods in Pakistan.
The FIA conducted a preliminary inquiry into the audio leaks and concluded that Tarin’s conversations were an attempt to disrupt the IMF loan program and funds, which could harm the national interest. The agency then asked the government to take legal action against Tarin.
Related Information: Audio leaks: Shaukat Tarin booked in sedition case for ‘derailing’ IMF deal
The Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah, announced that the government has given the FIA permission to arrest Tarin. The FIR (First Information Report) registered by the FIA states that Tarin induced the provincial finance ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with “malicious intentions” and that his actions could disrupt public peace and create ill-will among state institutions. The FIR also states that Tarin failed to provide satisfactory answers during the inquiry.
The audio leaks show the man believed to be Tarin asking the finance ministers to write letters stating that their respective departments would not return the surplus budget to the federal government. The complaint states that Tarin’s actions could negatively affect the ongoing deals between the government of Pakistan and the IMF and that the audio is considered an act of sedition against the state.
Tarin has been charged under several sections of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act and the Pakistan Penal Code, including sedition and causing public mischief. Tarin has denied the accusations, claiming that the audio was tampered with and that it is illegal to tap someone’s conversations.