LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) challenging the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) authority to investigate the audio leaks related to the cipher allegedly containing the threat from the United States.
“The enquiry initiated by the FIA is illegal, unlawful and without any authority and jurisdiction,” said the PTI chairman in the petition which names the interior secretary, FIA director general and head of the inquiry team. The former prime minister has contended before the court that the notice sent to him “is absolutely unclear as to what offence, if any, he is being inquired for”. He also informed the court that the notice is “silent about any criminal wrongdoing committed” by him.
The former prime minister also told the court that he has already challenged the matter in the Supreme Court, alleging that the case was “politically motivated” with the aim of arm twisting and harassing him. He also stated his “political adversaries” have “released and circulated” the “manipulated audios” for “ulterior motives”.
The PTI chief also contends in his petition that the agency is being used “as a tool to pressurise and blackmail” him. “This enquiry is a colourable exercise of power by the FIA being conducted in bad faith,” states the petition. He has also contested that the “unlawful acts” are infringing his fundamental rights.
Khan, as an interim relief, has urged the court to “suspend the operation” of the FIA inquiry till his petition is addressed. While the former prime minister has prayed to the court to set aside the inquiry launched by FIA, and declare the notice sent to him “illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority”.
In the two audio leaks that took the internet by storm and shocked the public, the former prime minister, then-federal minister Asad Umar, and then-principle secretary Azam Khan could allegedly be heard discussing the US cipher and how to use it in their interest.
On September 30, the federal cabinet took notice of the matter and constituted a committee to probe the contents of the audio leaks. In October, the coalition government’s federal cabinet gave the green signal to formally launch legal action against the former prime minister after audios were leaked allegedly featuring him and other PTI leaders discussing the US cipher.
The committee recommended legal action over the audio leaks purportedly featuring Imran Khan, Azam Khan and others. The federal cabinet approved the summary through circulation. The probe into the US cipher and the audios allegedly featuring Imran Khan and others was tasked to the FIA. Once FIA was given the task to probe the matter, it summoned Khan, Umar, and other leaders of the party.