ISLAMABAD - The prime minister has sought explanation from one of his ministers for ‘falsely accusing’ ISI chief of conspiring with PTI to dislodge his government, his top spokesman said on Friday.

The government had already expressed no knowledge about claims that the then Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam conspired with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf during its protest sit-in in Islamabad last year to overthrow Nawaz Sharif regime.

But Federal Minister for Climate-change Mushahidullah Khan in an interview to a foreign media channel last night lent credibility to earlier such reports, forcing Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid to categorically reject it.

Mushahidullah disclosed in the interview that when PTI was staging sit-in in front of Parliament House an audiotape was presented to the prime minister wherein Lt-Gen Zaheer was giving instructions to some people on phone that how they would take over PM House and the tape also carried other nitty-gritty of the ploy.

The confirmation of the media reports by a senior minister of Nawaz government also forced Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations to also issue a statement Friday night wherein ISPR director general said that the claim had no truth in it and it was ‘totally baseless’.

Earlier in the day, Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid strongly denied any such development last year, adding that the premier has already taken strict notice of it and sought explanation from the minister for giving such false statement.

He further said that he used to remain with the prime minister those days and had not seen any such development where the prime minister was presented with audiotape revealing the alleged coup plan.

To a question, the information minister said that neither any tape was given to the PM nor was it shown to Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. To another question, he said that as he has not spoken to Mushahidullah on the issue yet so he was not in a position to say anything on his behalf.

A cabinet member informed The Nation that Prime Minister Nawaz was very much disturbed over the interview and soon after getting the air of it he called up the information minister to PM House and directed him to issue a denial.

The prime minister was very much annoyed over what he termed the irresponsible statement given by his minister and he directed Mushahidullah to come up with a clarification.

When contacted Mushahidullah denied all what was attributed to him. However, he did admit that there was a brief reference to former ISI DG Lt-Gen (r) Zaheerul Islam in the interview but he said that he mainly talked about the climate change in this region and its impact.

He said that so far he had not received any explanation memo from the PM House and as soon as he received it he would respond to it accordingly.

In his interview, the climate change minister alleged that during Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with General Raheel Sharif on July 28, 2014, an audiotape was played in which Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam could be heard giving orders to ransack the PM House and spread chaos. The tape, he claimed, was obtained by officials of the civilian intelligence agency – Intelligence Bureau.

After hearing the audiotape, the army chief had summoned the then ISI chief to the meeting and played the tape in front of him also, according to Mushahidullah’s account. When Zaheerul Islam confirmed that it was his voice, the army chief asked him to leave, the minister added.

Mushahid Ullah Khan is not the first person to talk about the alleged conspiracy to overthrow the PML-N government last year. On previous such disclosures the government avoided to issue a clear rejection, though it denied any knowledge about such developments.

Even some of the senior federal cabinet members had also dropped hints in their interviews about the conspiracies against the incumbent political dispensation but there were no direct accusations against the top military generals.