The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday ordered Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt. Gen. Nadeem Anjum to submit a report detailing who was responsible for recording and releasing an alleged phone call between Bushra Bibi, the wife of former PTI chairman Imran Khan, and her lawyer Latif Khosa.
Justice Babar Sattar also directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct forensics of the leaked call and determine where it first emerged as he took up a petition filed by Khosa against the publicizing of the alleged call between him and his client. He directed court staff to forward a copy of the petition to the ISI chief to seek a report on who was responsible for recording the call.
Additionally, the court issued notices to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for their input on the matter before adjourning proceedings until Dec. 11.
In today’s hearing, Justice Sattar questioned how private conversations of individuals had been broadcast on television channels. He also overruled the registrar’s objections to the application, as Khosa argued that it could be a “miscellaneous petition” in the audio leaks case.
To the lawyer maintaining that counsel-client conversations were privileged, the judge said “Big Boss” was listening to “everything” and the lawyer should be aware of this. He then questioned who had recorded the audio, with Khosa saying “everyone” knows who is responsible. To this, the judge said courts cannot proceed on assumptions.
The lawyer stressed that the issue was not only a personal concern, but also an issue for lawyers nationwide. “How will the justice system work if a lawyer cannot talk to his client freely?” he said.
Justice Sattar then questioned whether the audio had initially surfaced on social media or broadcast on TV channels. “Audio was aired by all TV channels,” said Khosa. “[But] did it first surface on Twitter or elsewhere,” asked the judge, adding it was possible to trace its origins if the point of its initial emergence could be determined.
Khosa argued PEMRA should be questioned over how it allowed channels to broadcast the private conversation. He further complained that people had stopped talking to him over phone, as his mobile was no longer considered safe.
The petition, filed by Khosa earlier this week, pertains to an alleged call between Bushra and him in which the two are allegedly discussing the displeasure of the former PTI chief’s sisters with regards to Khosa’s handling of his legal cases.