Friday February 23, 2024

IHC asks ISI chief to submit report on Bushra-Khosa purported audio leak

FIA also orders to conduct audio forensics of leaked call to find origins of its release

December 07, 2023
Islamabad High Court signage is seen outside the court premises. — Geo News/File
Islamabad High Court signage is seen outside the court premises. — Geo News/File

ISLAMABAD: Taking action on a petition filed against the leak of an alleged audio call between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) former chairman Imran Khan's wife Bushra Bibi and lawyer Latif Khosa, the Islamabad High Court on Thursday sought a report from the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum to probe who was behind the leak. 

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has also been ordered to conduct audio forensics of the leaked call to find out the origins of its release.

IHC Judge Babar Sattar issued the orders during the hearing of a plea filed by Khosa, seeking the court's intervention against the leaked audio of a call between him and his client.

The judge also asked for a copy of the plea to be sent to DG ISI, seeking a report with findings detailing who was behind the audio leak.

The court also issued notices to FIA, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), seeking their response on the matter.

The IHC adjourned the hearing of the case till December 11 (Monday).

During the proceedings today, Justice Sattar questioned how private conversations of people were being broadcast on television channels.

He also overruled the objections to the application. "What is the registrar's office's objection to the application?" he asked.

Khosa, in his reply to the judge, said the objection is on filing a miscellaneous application and not a separate plea. "A miscellaneous petition can be filed in the audio leaks case."

The lawyer said that counsel-client conversations are privileged.

"Big Boss is listening to everything, you must know this," Justice Sattar quipped, leaving the courtroom echo with laughter.

He then went on to ask who was recording the audio, in reply to which Khosa said, "Everyone knows who records."

The judge emphasised that the court can't work on assumptions.

Latif Khosa, who is also representing Imran Khan in multiple cases, said that the matter was not only concerning for him but for all lawyers in the country.

"This is the problem of the lawyers of the whole country, not mine," he added. "How will the justice system work if a lawyer cannot talk to his client freely?"

The judge then inquired if the audio surfaced on social media.

"Audio was also aired by all TV channels," Khosa replied.

"Did it first surface on Twitter or elsewhere," Justice Sattar said, asking about the platform where the audio first surfaced.

He added that it is possible to find out who recorded the audio if the origins of its release are ascertained. 

Khosa censured Pemra for its "ignorance" while news channels ran the audio leak on air.

"Otherwise, Pemra turns off the screen upon taking someone's name [on-air]," the lawyer said.

He also complained that people have stopped talking to him over a phone call as his mobile phone is no longer safe.

Earlier this week, Khosa filed a petition against the audio leak of his conversation with Bushra Bibi, requesting the court to ask respondents, delinquent authorities, officials and agencies not to tape the former first lady's telephone calls nor telecast or broadcast or print it in the electronic, print or social media.

"It is further prayed that to stem the illegal intrusion into the petitioner's privacy of communication through cell/telephone or otherwise the respondents be directed to remove the surveillance gadgets/devices and those found involved be directed to be prosecuted under the law," the petition read.

The fresh audio clip purportedly featuring Khan's wife and his counsel surfaced on social media, hinting that all was not well in the former prime minister's family with him being behind bars.

The two were purportedly heard talking about the ex-PTI chief's sisters complaining about Khosa's alleged misbehaviour with them about a case.