FORMER Punjab Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi, who has been accused of plotting to get the nomination papers of Sharif brothers rejected, must have been deeply embarrassed to find the PML-N exposing the conspiracy by playing before the media an audiotape containing his conversation with an unidentified person on the issue. The recording referred to the instructions purportedly issued to the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court by the senior most member of the apex court for constituting an election tribunal and rejecting the plaints of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz. The issue drew scathing criticism from the ruling coalition, the legal fraternity and sections of civil society. Mian Nawaz slammed General Musharraf, the PML-Q leadership and the PCO judges for jointly hatching a conspiracy to prevent him and his brother from entering Parliament. PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari described the move as 'undemocratic and distasteful'. It was no surprise to see Ch Pervaiz try to trivialize the issue by saying that the 'conversation' was fabricated and he would take legal action against PML-N leader Ch Ahsan Iqbal for attempting to defame him through petty tactics. But it may not help him prove his innocence since the people have heard about such controversial audiotapes in the past. There was one containing a conversation between two former members of the judiciary over how to deal with a case for which the court was under immense pressure by the Prime Minister's Ehtesab Cell during the second Nawaz government to give a verdict against Ms Benazir Bhutto and her husband. Both judges had to subsequently resign as the plot got unveiled soon after the matter came up for hearing before the Supreme Court. The PML-Q leadership and the alleged co-conspirators will have a lot of explaining to do to dispel Mr Zardari's contention that they had been involved in such dubious activities to perpetuate their rule. The PML-N has come out with the audiotape at a time when the establishment is desperately trying to not only create a wedge between the two major partners of the ruling coalition, but also to prevent the Sharif brothers from consolidating their rule in the Punjab. They were earlier kept in exile for seven years with General Musharraf repeatedly saying that they had no role to play in national politics. The only way for the Presidency to steer clear of the situation is to order an independent enquiry into the issue so that those involved in the conspiracy should be exposed and punished. It's time General Musharraf stopped holding meetings with the Chaudhrys and other leaders of the former ruling coalition, lest the people should be constrained to believe that he is part of a game plan to destabilize the system.