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IHC Chief Justice to Convene Larger Bench in Response to Campaign Targeting Justice Babar Sattar

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq is contemplating assembling a larger bench to initiate contempt proceedings following a social media campaign targeting Justice Babar Sattar. Justice Sattar raised the issue with Chief Justice Farooq after personal information, including details regarding his and his family’s US residence permits, surfaced online without authorization.

The dissemination of this sensitive information, which included identity cards and permanent residency details, prompted Justice Sattar to highlight the violation of his family’s privacy rights.

In response to the social media campaign, the IHC’s public relations office issued a statement condemning the spread of false, malicious, and contemptuous content. The statement aimed to clarify that Justice Babar Sattar holds only Pakistani nationality, refuting any claims of dual citizenship. Despite previously practicing law in New York and obtaining a green card, Justice Sattar returned to Pakistan in 2005 and has since resided and worked there.

Justice Sattar is one of six IHC judges who have expressed concerns about potential interference in judicial matters by the country’s intelligence agencies.

In a related legal development, Justice Babar Sattar dismissed pleas from various entities, including 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.

A similar plea from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) led Justice Sattar to summon the IB’s joint director Tariq Mehmood for the next hearing, the date of which is yet to be announced.

These legal proceedings unfolded as the court addressed petitions filed last year by individuals such as Bushra Bibi, the spouse of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Najam Saqib, son of former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, regarding alleged audio leaks.

The IHC had previously directed intelligence agencies and the PTA to trace the source of the leaked audio recordings and had instructed Pemra not to broadcast unauthorized conversations. In subsequent hearings, the PTA stated its inability to identify the source of the leaks, while the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) clarified that no intelligence agency had been authorized to tap audio conversations.

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