Audio leaks case: IHC inquires about the source of the leaks

islamabad high court

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) held a hearing on the case related to leaked audio recordings, on Monday. Attorney General Mansoor Awan and Judicial Assistant Raza Rabbani appeared before the court to address the intricacies of the case.

During the proceedings, Rabbani presented written arguments to the court. Previously, the court had requested assistance on five key questions.

One of the central points of contention during the hearing revolved around the Parliamentary Committee’s initiation of proceedings against Najam Saqib. Attorney General Mansoor Awan argued that this action was inappropriate and should not have taken place.

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The issue of electronic surveillance loomed large as Justice Babar Sattar questioned its legality and those responsible for conducting it. He inquired about the source of the leaks., saying that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had asserted that they had not granted permission for any such surveillance.

Justice Sattar asked that are these leaked audio recordings, which included content from the Prime Minister’s Office and the family of the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the doing of some hostile agency. Justice Babar Sattar expressed his dismay over the decision to conduct such activities without involving the state or adhering to due process.

FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) is already actively probing the source and mechanisms behind an audio leak case.

In response to the situation, the government established a judicial commission comprised of esteemed judges. However, Justice Babar Sattar noted that the commission’s terms of reference (TORs) did not delve into the identity of the leaker.

These developments prompted further inquiries into the means of ensuring checks and balances regarding electronic surveillance and data privacy. Justice Babar Sattar suggested the necessity of discussions with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to establish a regulatory framework for these activities, emphasizing that without proper procedures, such actions would remain illegal.

The Attorney General requested a closed-door, in-camera hearing, which the court will consider after receiving the written responses to the case. The audio leaks have ignited a debate on the need for rigorous legal frameworks and accountability in the realm of electronic surveillance and data protection.

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The IHC postponed the hearing for one month. The court granted this extension to the federal government, allowing more time to address the complex issues surrounding the leaked audio recordings.

The court’s directive includes instructions for the Attorney General, Mansoor Awan, to present the matter before the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The purpose of this move is to establish a comprehensive and well-considered response to the audio leaks, which have raised concerns about electronic surveillance and data privacy. The court has urged comprehensive responses regarding the legal scope of these activities.

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