SC bench to hear pleas against commission probing audio leaks

ISLAMABAD    -    A five-member bench of the Su­preme Court will today take up constitutional petitions against the formation of Judicial Com­mission to probe the audio leaks.

The five-member bench head­ed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Jus­tice Shahid Waheed will take up the petitions of Pakistan Tehr­ik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Abid Shahid Zuberi, SCBA Secretary Gener­al Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir and Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi.

The petitions were filed un­der Article 184(3) to declare the notification and constitu­tion of Inquiry Commission to probe into the veracity of al­leged audio leaks as ultra vires to the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Inquiry Com­mission has issued notices to four persons who are alleged­ly found having conversation in the audio leaks for May 27. They include SCBA President Abid Zu­beri, senior advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, journalist Ab­dul Qayyum Siddiqui and Najam Saqib, the son of for­mer chief justice of Paki­stan Mian Saqib Nisar. Abid Zuberi in his petition men­tioned that whether surveil­lance of citizens of Pakistan through “phone tapping or interception” is permissi­ble under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and wheth­er the same is violative of Article(s) 9, 14, 18, 19 & 25 r/w 4 thereof? He also ques­tioned whether any undat­ed alleged audio leaks up­loaded on or disseminated through unidentified / un­traceable social media ac­counts could be relied upon for any legal proceedings and whether the said alleged audio leaks could be en­quired into through a com­mission formed under the Pakistan Commissions of In­quiry Act, 2017 to determine liability of persons named in the alleged audio leaks? He stated that on 16.02.2023, three alleged snippets of au­dio recordings of telephon­ic conversations were up­loaded on a Twitter account with the handle “indibell@indibell”. These 3 audio re­cordings were allegedly be­tween (1) an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan with Ex- Chief Minister Pun­jab, Pervez Elahi, (2) Peti­tioner and ex-Chief Minister Punjab, Pervez Elahi and (3) a serving Judge of the apex court and Ex- Chief Minister Punjab, Pervez Elahi. He sub­mitted that the said record­ings were given wide cover­age in press and media. He further said that thereafter references were filed before the Supreme Judicial Coun­cil in relation to the alleged audio recording against the judge who has been alleged­ly recorded in the said audio. Such references are present­ly pending adjudication. It further questioned what the effect of the formation of the commission by the feder­al government was, without taking into consideration of the provision of Article 175(3) as well as the judg­ment delivered in Sharaf Faridi and others, where un­der the judiciary stands sep­arated from the Executive for all purposes and intents.

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