The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday said the federal government should answer the court’s questions in the audio leaks case or else sensitive institutions would be made direct parties and asked for answers.

These remarks came from Justice Babar Sattar while hearing Bushra Bibi’s petition against phone bugging and audio leaks. Justice Babar also made it clear that the court had no problem with the ISI, MI, IB or FIA.The defence ministry told the court that it had no role in the audio recording and did not make any recording in the instant case.Justice Babar remarked that it appeared that no one could record and no one had the facility to record telephonic conversations.The interior ministry and the PTA submitted written replies which the court termed unsatisfactory and again sought detailed replies.The written responses did not answer the court’s questions. “There are only two options: either the government responds or the agencies are made parties,” said the judge.Advocate Latif Khosa on behalf of the petitioners said that the FIA called Bushra Bibi daily and asked her to record her voice so that they could do voice-matching.He said the FIA sometimes called her for voice-matching and sometimes for other reasons. “Bushra Bibi is being repeatedly summoned and harassed; this should stop now,” he pleaded.Justice Babar said, “I cannot stop an investigation agency from investigating. When there is any violation of law, you can challenge it.”The hearing was adjourned by extending the order by one month. Meanwhile, the court issued a notice to the FIA on PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s petition challenging the Special Court’s decision in the cipher case and seeking post-arrest bail.The Special Court had rejected the post-arrest bail pleas of Khan and his party’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi.Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued the notice in response to the plea filed by Khan’s counsel Salman Safdar.The PTI chief’s legal team repeatedly urged an early hearing of the case, following which the IHC chief justice emphasised that there was a proper procedure in place, and the case would be decided accordingly.The FIA has been directed to submit its response to the PTI chief’s petition.On Monday, Special Court judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain sought a report from the Attock Jail superintendent on the jail administration’s failure to arrange former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s telephonic talk with his sons despite the court orders.The judge heard the petition filed by Khan seeking a court order for the jail superintendent to arrange his telephonic conversation with his sons, Qasim Khan and Suleman Khan. Prosecutor Raja Naveed and PTI lawyer Sheeraz Ranjha appeared in the court.Speaking on the occasion, Ranjha said all prisoners in the jail, barring Imran Khan, had been provided with the facility to talk to their family members over telephone. “The former prime minister is not a convict in the cipher case yet. In fact, he is in the Attock Jail on a judicial remand,” he said.He argued that the Punjab jail laws and those under the Secrets Act applied only to convicts, and not suspects. Calling it an injustice with Khan, his lawyer requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the jail superintendent.The judge said he would himself talk to the superintendent on the subject. “The possibility that the matter would be settled in that meeting cannot be ruled out,” he remarked. The court adjourned the case hearing until September 28.


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2023-09-19

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