PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry Monday came down hard on Defence Minister Khawaja Asif for claiming that the party had approached US official Donald Lu seeking forgiveness. Former premier and PTI Chairman Imran Khan had accused US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Donald Lu of playing a part in his ouster. Responding to Asif’s claim in a press conference held in Islamabad, Fawad asked Asif whether he had gone deaf when Imran was giving his “policy statement in front of a gathering of tens of thousands of people”, referring to the PTI’s rally at the Parade Ground on Saturday. “Did you have plugs in your ears that you could not understand what Imran was saying?” He said the PTI wanted good relations with all countries but would not allow any country to decide “who would rule Pakistan”. “We cannot give this permission. We maintain relations on the basis of equality,” he said, says a news report. At the start of the press conference, former human rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari talked about the leak of an audio clip wherein Imran’s wife, Bushra Bibi, purportedly instructed the party’s social media head to run a trend against their political opponents. Mazari said only a forensic analysis could prove the authenticity of the alleged clip but said that the real issue was tapping of the phones of party leaders. “The Supreme Court had previously ruled that tapping phones during official and private conversations was “unacceptable”, she said. She claimed that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had accepted that 60,000 mobile phones were tapped every month, according to a newspaper report in June. “Phone tapping is illegal and only intelligence agencies can do it because they have the means and the technical ability. Secondly, there are decisions of the Supreme Court – not once, but again and again. These decisions are valid because no one challenged them.” She also alleged that Imran’s home phone was also tapped, adding that the apex court should take notice of the matter. The PTI leader claimed that such leaks were being carried out by the “neutrals to hide the conspiracy” which led to the ouster of the Imran-led government. “Look at the timing – they are scared of our rallies so they are diverting [the attention of the] nation because … [of] loadshedding. Plus, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has given them a condition to reframe their laws on accountability. So they have no place to run.” The “neutrals” believed they could target the families of PTI leaders because they could not find anything against Imran, she claimed. She also warned the Sharif family against using their “their deep contacts in India” to create trouble on the border in an effort to make the nation forget about this conspiracy. She warned that if former prime minister Imran Khan’s phone calls with his principal secretary Azam Khan were leaked, then the PTI will not sit quietly. “Ansar Abbasi sahab, in a blog, has said that an audio of former prime minister Imran Khan’s telephone call on a secure line with his principal secretary Azam Khan will be leaked,” Mazari said. Mazari said if such audio is leaked, it will be a violation of the Official Secrets Act as the conversation between a prime minister and his principal secretary was protected under the law. “…if a journalist leaks this, they are not only violating Article 14, they will also be in violation of the official secrets act. Beware, we will not sit quietly if this happens,” she said. Commenting upon the leaked audio of Bushra Bibi and Dr Arsalan Khalid, Mazari said that “no substantial” conversation was there and “the actual problem here is of phone tapping”. “One wonders how much did the US help in tapping the phones,” Mazari said, as she claimed that the “conspiracy” against the PTI chairman was coming to the fore.