Can’t play into hands of those behind audio leaks: CJ IHC

Observer Report

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday said the judiciary cannot play into the hands of those whose intentions are to build political narratives through audio tapes leaked on social media.

Justice Minallah made those remarks while hearing arguments on the maintainability of a petition seeking the formation of an independent commission to ascertain the authenticity of an alleged audio of former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar and probe certain events before and after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s conviction.

In the leaked audio clip, an unidentified individual, allegedly Nisar, can be heard speaking of a collusion to punish Sharif and Maryam in order to bring their political rival Imran Khan into power. The former top judge had branded the audio as “fabricated”.

During the hearing, the chief justice observed that the people who were “affected” by the audio leak “did not show interest in bringing the matter to the court” — an apparent reference to ongoing hearings on PML-N Vice President Maryam and her husband Mohammad Safdar’s appeals against their convictions in the Avenfield reference.

“Anything goes viral on social media. How many can the court order inquiries into?” the high court chief justice questioned.Justice Minallah said the court cannot risk “opening up of the floodgates” by ordering inquiries into “anything that goes viral on social media”, remarking that judicial activism had already caused a lot of damage to the judiciary.
The judge wondered about the identity of those behind the audio leak.

“Who has the capability to record the chief justice of Pakistan? Did that person release it or someone sitting in America?” Addressing one of the petitioners, Sindh High Court Bar Association President Salahuddin Ahmed, Justice Minallah said.

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