No intelligence agency allowed to tap audio conversations: govt tells IHC

intellegence agency

ISLAMABAD:  During a hearing at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan affirmed that no intelligence agency has received government authorisation to engage in tapping audio conversation.

The disclosure came during a hearing on a petition filed by Bushra Bibi, the spouse of former prime minister Imran Khan, seeking redress over a leaked conversation involving her and PTI leader Latif Khosa.

On December 6, Bibi approached the IHC, asserting that the leaked recording violated her constitutional right to dignity and privacy under Article 14. The application, filed through Khosa, named the principal secretary to the prime minister and secretaries of defense and interior as respondents.

During the proceedings, AGP Awan presented a report from the Prime Minister’s Office, asserting, “The PMO is clear that the ISI, FIA, and IB are not allowed to record any conversations.”

Awan underscored that any such recordings by agencies would be deemed illegal. He noted that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was actively pursuing the identification of the call recorder as directed by the court.

Audio leaks: IHC adjourns hearing on Bushra Bibi’s petition till 18th Sept

Justice Babar Sattar sought clarity on the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) inability to trace the audio leak source and questioned the agency’s decision to submit a report through the Ministry of Defense. The judge directed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to submit a comprehensive report, while instructing the FIA and other authorities to refile their responses.

Pemra’s counsel informed the court that TV channels were prohibited from airing private audio leaks, with the matter referred to the Council of Complaints for resolution. Justice Sattar raised concerns about Pemra’s regulatory efficacy and emphasized the delicate balance between freedom of expression and privacy.

The leaked conversation, allegedly featuring Bushra Bibi, disclosed discussions on hiring Khosa as a lawyer and reported discontent among Imran’s sisters.

The judge underscored the gravity of the matter, warning that local and international advisers could be appointed if the government failed to provide adequate information. The hearing concluded with an adjournment.

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