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Saqib Nisar audio case: Can only form commission if there are grounds to do so, says IHC

How can you say that the audio clip is genuine? IHC CJ Justice Minallah asks petitioner

By Web Desk
December 08, 2021
A file photo of Islamabad High Court.
A file photo of Islamabad High Court. 

ISLAMABAD: Raising questions over the authenticity of an audio clip attributed to former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, the Islamabad High Court Wednesday ruled that a commission cannot be formed to probe the audio clip without proper grounds. 

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the ruling while presiding over the hearing of a petition seeking the formation of a commission to investigate an audio leak allegedly involving the former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar. 

In his petition, Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) President Salahuddin Ahmed said that after the audio leak, a perception was created that the judiciary appears to operate "under pressure from external powers". Therefore, he said it is crucial to determine whether the audiotape is authentic or not.

"The audiotape has damaged the judiciary's integrity and raised important questions over the judiciary's independence. It is important to revive the people's trust in an independent and non-partisan judiciary," said the plea.

At the outset of today's hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan appeared before the court for assistance. He told the court that the plea has been filed under Article 199 of the Constitution. It seemed that it was a "proxy application", he said, adding that one should not get the impression that the petitioner was fighting on someone else's behalf. 

Referring to Saqib Nisar's alleged audio clip and ex-CJ GB Rana Shamim’s affidavit, the attorney general said, “It is the season of harassing and pressuring the judiciary.”

“Have you received the audio clip from authentic sources?” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the petitioner. “How can you say that the audio clip is genuine?” he further asked.

Justice Minallah told the petitioner that he wasn't also sure of the clip's authenticity, adding that a commission can only be formed to probe a matter where there are grounds to do so. 

Meanwhile, the IHC judge adjourned the hearing till December 24. Arguments will be resumed on the admissibility of the petition at the next hearing.