Friday Jan 14 2022

Saqib Nisar's alleged audio case: IHC asks AGP, PBC to submit names of forensic audit firms

  • The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has suggested forensic analysis of the alleged audio in the audio-leak case of Saqib Nisar.
  • Names of forensic agencies have been sought by the IHC.
  • Petition alleges that the benches of this court were formed under some pressure, asks CJ IHC to the petitioner's lawyer.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has sought the names of credible forensic audit firms from Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) for a forensic analysis of the alleged audio of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nasir.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard on Friday arguments on the maintainability of a petition seeking the formation of an independent commission to ascertain the authenticity of Nisar's alleged audiotape.

While hearing the petition of Salahuddin Ahmed, the former president of Sindh High Court Bar, the IHC CJ remarked that the whereabouts of original audio clip were not even known.

Ahmed, who argued the case himself, stated that they were unaware of it and that the alleged audio conversation of the former chief justice should be investigated to determine whether it is real or not. "We request that an independent commission be set up to inquire into the matter."

The IHC CJ said that all these matters are related to the pending appeal. Those who have appeals have not demanded an inquiry, while your petition alleges that the benches of this court were formed under some pressure.

Responding to that, Advocate Salahuddin said that this allegation is not part of the petition; in fact, the allegation has been made in the affidavit of Rana Shamim.

The IHC CJ said that history is really bitter, the judges admitted things in the past, whereas, the matter is different here. "Was the court compromised and the bench constituted under pressure? Is there any small evidence related to this?" the CJ IHC asked.

He further said that when you say that there should be an inquiry, it will be for the judges' part of the bench. "Where does the order of the judges on the bench prove that? The order went against it," he added.

Advocate Salahuddin argued that the main point in his petition was related to the inquiry into Saqib Nisar's audio clip, it did not say that he was talking to any judge on the other side and that other references were added to the petition to explain the context. 

He said that it is not the time for us to declare someone guilty or innocent, calling it "premature". "These things will be seen during the inquiry," he said, adding that journalist Ahmad Noorani reported a story on Saqib Nisar's audio clip on Fact Focus, which has not been edited as per the forensic report of the audio clip. 

He read out the forensic report and told the court that he had obtained the report from the internet.

He said that the copy of the audio clip is with all the channels which took the risk of playing this audio. The channels considered it to be serious and played this audio clip despite the risk of contempt of court proceedings, he said.

At this, Justice Minallah said that a lot of things come up on the internet. "What if tomorrow in the pending cases more petitions of inquiry into more internet audios come up?"

"The report of the forensic agency that you are referring to has been taken from the internet and hence cannot be relied upon," the IHC CJ said. 

Justice Minallah asked who would bear the cost of this audio clip forensic audit?

Advocate Salahuddin replied that the Ministry of Law can bear the cost, to which the IHC CJ inquired why the taxpayers' money should be spent on it.

"Suggest the name of any authoritative forensic agency to a forensic audit of this audio clip," he said.

Advocate Salahuddin remarked that the AGP had told him that he was someone's proxy, so he could not suggest any name.

The court can seek the names of credible forensic agencies from the AGP, he added.

The IHC CJ has asked the PBC and AJP to provide the names of credible forensic agencies and directed the petitioner to provide an audio clip.

The court adjourned the hearing till January 28.