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Thursday July 25, 2024

'Who records audios?' IHC asks govt

IHC instructs govt to stop special NA body from proceeding against son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar

By Awais Yousafzai
May 31, 2023
Justice Babar Sattar. — IHC website
Justice Babar Sattar. — IHC website 

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday instructed the government to stop the special parliamentary body from proceeding against former chief justice Saqib Nisar’s son and directed it to apprise the court about the elements responsible for recording audios.

Justice Babar Sattar's remarks came during the plea hearing filed by Najam Saqib — son of former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar — against a special committee formed by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to probe audio clips allegedly featuring his voice.

Advocate Latif Khosa, on behalf of the petitioner, told the court that the rules for the special committee would be the same as for the general committee.

The judge responded that he would have to make the concerned ministry a party to the case.

“There is no relevant ministry in this matter, but we will do so,” Khosa said.

He added: “We only challenged that the speaker and the assembly do not have the authority to look into private matters. The petition does not challenge the matter which is pending in the Supreme Court.”

“The audio leak is an alleged conversation between two private individuals that Parliament has no right to see,” he maintained.

The judge further inquired: “You have also been a governor. Tell me, who records these audios?”

“Let the parties answer first, then everything will be clear," Najam’s counsel responded.

The petition

The petition filed by Najam on Tuesday requested the IHC to suspend the proceedings of the committee and stop it from taking any punitive action. He contended that the alleged audios breached his privacy and it was illegal surveillance. He requested the court to declare that recording a private person's personal conversation was a violation of basic human rights.

He further said the committee formed by the NA speaker to probe the audios was illegal.

The summons issued by the committee secretary without any meeting of the committee — asking Najam, his father and two other persons to appear in person — is also illegal, the petition claimed.

The IHC registrar’s office, however, had raised objections to the petition saying that the matter was already pending with the Supreme Court. The registrar also contended that two different types of pleas could not be made in a single petition. It said, on the one hand, the petitioner had challenged the notification of the committee while, on the other hand, he also requested the court to declare the recording of audio as illegal.

Special committee

NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf on May 3 set up a special committee to investigate Najam’s audio, in which he can be heard selling a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ticket to a candidate of the Punjab provincial assembly, claiming that his father had to work hard to get the ticket sanctioned — according to a notification from the assembly.

Mohammad Aslam Bhootani was appointed as chairman of the committee, which includes Shahida Akhtar Ali, Muhammad Abubakar, Muhammad Barjees Tahir, Sheikh Rohale Asghar, Syed Hussain Tariq, Naz Baloch, and Khalid Hussain Magsi.

Audio transcript

Here is the transcript of the alleged audio call between Najam Saqib and Abuzar Chadhar:

Abuzar Chadhar: Sir..sir, Assalamo Alikum.

Najam Saqib: Yes.

Abuzar Chadhar: Your efforts have paid off.

Najam Saqib: I have received the information.

Abuzar Chadhar: Okay sir.

Najam Saqib: Now tell, me what needs to be done now.

Abuzar Chadhar: We are getting the tickets printed. These should be printed. We cannot delay this matter as we are running short of time.

Najam Saqib: You just come to meet Baba to thank him. Nothing else.

Abuzar Chadhar: Yes obviously, what are you talking about?

Najam Saqib: He will come back by 11 o'clock. You just come to give him a hug. He has worked hard a lot.

Abuzar Chadhar: Very much. I was wondering if I should visit the uncle (Saqib Nisar) first or come after submitting the ticket.

Najam Saqib: As you wish, but make sure that you meet Baba today.

Abuzar Chadhar: Yes obviously, [I] have to come straight to him [Saqib Nisar].

Najam Saqib: Alright then.

Abuzar Chadhar: The time will end at 12 o'clock.

Najam Saqib: Get the ticket printed, send the picture and then come after doing that.

Abuzar Chadhar: Okay.

Following is the transcript of the alleged audio call between Najam Saqib and Mian Uzair:

Najam Saqib: Check WhatsApp.

Mian Uzair: Oh yes, has Abuzar sent this to you?

Najam Saqib: Yar (my friend) I'm also a lawyer.

Mian Uzair: No. Has Abuzar sent this to you or [did you] receive it directly?

Najam Saqib: I can receive it directly as well. It's not necessary that Abuzar sends everything.

Mian Uzair: You want me to bypass him?

Najam Saqib: Do it if you want to, but I have received it from him.

Mian Uzair: Okay

Najam Saqib: So who got the job done... No one else has done it.

Mian Uzair: Okay good then.

Najam Saqib: What's the scene now?

Mian Uzair: I will talk, okay?

Najam Saqib: What do you mean by you'll talk about it? It was done and decided.

Mian Uzair: Let me call and tell them to deliver the goods to me.

Najam Saqib: Not only deliver the goods. Don't take less than 120 or else I'll break your legs.

Mian Uzair: Yar (buddy) you are again saying such things .... on the phone.

Najam Saqib: Yar Uzair, I don't have any issue with that. Don't take less than 120 from him.

Mian Uzair: okay

Najam Saqib: I'm telling you that I'm not joking. This is a big deal Uzair.

Mian Uzair: Brother I have given my word. I am not...

Najam Saqib: You become a ... become a ... for me. Or I will not even talk to you.

Mian Uzair: Okay then, I'll do it.

Najam Saqib: Or else I will deal with him directly. What else can I do other than that?

Mian Uzair: Say it directly, it's better.

Najam Saqib: He is coming to the office after submitting the ticket. You also come if you want to.

Mian Uzair: Okay.