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Sunday May 19, 2024
Sunday May 19, 2024

IHC’s Justice Babar Sattar dismisses pleas seeking his recusal in audio leaks case



Pemra, FIA, and PTA were fined rs500,000 each for filing petitions, contempt proceedings hinted

Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Babar Sattar dismissed pleas filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) seeking his recusal from a case involving audio leaks.

The case, initiated last year by ex-premier Imran Khan’s spouse Bushra Bibi and Najam Saqib, son of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, centres around alleged audio leaks. Saqib challenged a parliamentary committee’s inquiry into his purported audio seeking a bribe, while Bushra Bibi challenged an FIA inquiry into her alleged conversation with Zulfi Bukhari, a former aide to then-PM Imran, regarding selling Toshakhana gifts.

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In May last year, Justice Sattar instructed intelligence agencies and PTA to trace the audio leak source, and Pemra was directed not to broadcast unauthorized conversations.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) submitted a report stating it doesn’t interfere with intelligence agencies but expects them to work within constitutional bounds. The PTA later stated it lacked the capability to identify the audio leaker.

In December, Bushra Bibi filed another petition over a leaked audio with her lawyer Latif Khosa, confirmed by Khosa. IHC sought reports from ISI, FIA, Pemra, and ordered PTA to investigate.

Recently, Pemra requested Justice Sattar’s recusal, alleging another bench had dealt with a similar matter. The IHC noted a social media “malicious campaign” against Justice Sattar, who was among six judges alleging intelligence interference in judicial affairs.

During the hearing, Justice Sattar imposed Rs500,000 fines on FIA, PTA, and Pemra, dismissing their recusal pleas and hinting at contempt proceedings. IB Joint Director Tariq Mehmood was summoned for the next hearing.

Justice Sattar questioned the FIA-ISI connection, referring to the judges’ letter alleging intelligence meddling, and directed the Additional Attorney General to clarify the letter’s relevance.


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