The Truth Behind Pakistan’s Audio Leak Controversy Uncovered

Audio leaks have become a prevalent concern in Pakistan as numerous high-profile leaks of private conversations and phone calls have made headlines nationwide. These unauthorized releases of private information have raised significant concerns about privacy and confidentiality, resulting in anxiety and mistrust within a society already facing increased political polarization.

OTT Platforms and End-to-End Encryption:

Leaked audios often involve telephone conversations and exchanges on Over The Top (OTT) communication platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, Telegram, and Viber. To maintain privacy and confidentiality, these platforms employ End-to-End Encryption (E2EE). This cybersecurity measure encrypts conversations at the sender’s device and decrypts them at the recipient’s device, preventing intermediaries such as platform owners, service providers, or governments from intercepting or accessing the data.

E2EE’s frequent security key exchanges between the sender and recipient further ensure the confidentiality of these conversations. Despite E2EE being considered one of the safest methods for securing communication, there are still ways to gain access to these exchanges.

Bypassing Encryption and Misconceptions:

One method of bypassing encryption is by obtaining consent from the service provider, although this is unlikely due to the erosion of public trust that would result. OTT platforms’ service providers are typically US/West-based multinational corporations that rarely comply with local agencies’ requests.

Another method requires sophisticated technical capabilities to decrypt conversations, which only a few countries’ intelligence agencies possess. These include Israel’s Mossad, the US’ National Security Agency (NSA), and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Pakistan’s intelligence agencies do not possess the capability to decrypt E2EE communication, nor has the State obtained permission from service providers.

Contrary to popular belief, attributing the current wave of high-profile audio leaks in Pakistan to the State’s intelligence agencies is a misconception. This misinformation is a deliberate attempt to create anxiety and mistrust among the masses, potentially capitalizing on the rift that may emerge between the people and the army due to such malicious campaigns.

India’s acquisition of Israel’s Pegasus spyware and its strategic intelligence sharing arrangements with Israel lend credence to the hypothesis that the audio leaks are the work of those with the capability and vested interest in creating a fissure between the Army and the people in the region. Pegasus is notorious for bypassing E2EE communication with zero-click exploit and has been a go-to tool for governments worldwide for illegal surveillance and communication interception.

Alternative Possibilities for Audio Leaks:

Two additional possibilities for audio leaks exist:

  1. The conversation is recorded by one of the participants for malicious intent to proactively use later. People may record shady conversations for future reference or requirements.
  2. The conversation is recorded by one of the participants, hacked by a third party, and released with malicious intent.

Self-release or hacking as alternatives to E2EE bypassing methods serve as relatively easier methods for audio leaks, particularly for those recorded on devices for various reasons, including malicious intentions.


Attributing the audio leaks of high-profile individuals in Pakistan to the State’s intelligence agencies is an oversimplification and reductionism of a complex issue based on ill-informed understanding. This misconception benefits parties involved in the conversation or hostile agencies seeking to create anxiety among the populace, foster negative sentiments against the military establishment and its leadership, and weaken Pakistan politically and economically.

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