Friday June 21, 2024

IHC rejects defence ministry’s report on campaign against judge

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani remarked that they have to determine if agencies have ability to trace accounts of those who first shared judge’s family data

By Our Correspondent
June 04, 2024
A view of the Islamabad High Court building. — Geo News/File
A view of the Islamabad High Court building. — Geo News/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has rejected the defence ministry’s report on the social media campaign against Justice Babar Sattar and his family’s data leak. The court directed the ISI and the immigration DG to submit their reports before the next hearing.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani remarked that they have to determine if the agencies have the ability to trace the accounts of those who first shared the judge’s family data.

Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan asked who the people were who made a social media trend between half an hour and two hours. He asked if it was just a coincidence that three different campaigns were launched on the same day.

A three-member bench comprising Justice Kayani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Khan heard the contempt-of-court case regarding the propaganda campaign against Justice Sattar on social media and the leaking of his family’s data.

The court sought a report from the immigration DG on how information and documents related to the judge’s family’s travelling history got out of the system. Justice Kayani asked the immigration officer if he could tell how many times this information on the judge had been checked in the system.

Justice Jahangiri said the law officer had to apprise the court how this information was leaked. Immigration officials said their technical team would assist the court in the next hearing.Replying to a court query, the additional attorney general (AAG) said that having permanent residence and green card do not mean having a US citizenship. Immigration officials said that it is a travel document.

Justice Kayani asked if the immigration officer is saying that it is just a travel document, and that the visas of persons who have PR are not checked by the authorities. The court said the immigration officer has taken the stance that having a PR card does not mean US citizenship.

Addressing the AAG, the court said the law officer should explain to the government representatives that the judiciary has no confrontation with anyone. If any question is asked during the court hearing, they should come here and answer it instead of conducting a press conference outside, added the court.

Filing a report, the federal investigation officer said that some X (formerly Twitter) handles have been identified, and further inquiry is under way. The court, however, turned down the report submitted by the Ministry of Defence, terming it disappointing.

AAG Manoor Iqbal Dogal said the report mentions the same Twitter handles that were highlighted before. He said the FIA is the investigating agency, so it can provide better support in this regard.

Justice Khan asked if the law officer is saying that the premier intelligence agency is less capable than the FIA in this matter. The AAG said that this is a technical matter, and a sensitive matter.

The court said the FIA report is much better than the premier intelligence agency, adding that the court is asking if the agency has the capability.Justice Khan asked if the enemies of the country were to start a 5G war or anti-national elements were to accuse someone of blasphemy tomorrow, the ISI could identify the real culprits.

He asked if they were to accuse the army chief or the president of the country of blasphemy, and as a result of these accusations, there is arson and ransacking of buildings, the ISI would be able to trace these anti-national elements.

Justice Kayani remarked that this is just a yes or no question, so tell the court if you are capable. The FIA has done a lot of work, he added.He said the data related to the judge’s family should have been with the FIA or the immigration authorities only, so did that data came out of your system and onto social media.

He asked who is authorised to check the data. If the information is confidential and no one else can get it, do you share that information with an agency or anyone else, he inquired.The court said the FIA should inquire who had access to the data of the judge’s family. FIA officials said they have 300 technical experts and over 90,000 enquiries.

Justice Kayani said the FIA has a heavy workload, yet they have done a great job, but they are also accountable. Adjourning the hearing, the court said that the next date of hearing would be issued in the written order.