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Audio leaks case: IHC rejects IB’s request to retract its objection to the bench

Islamabad, the Islamabad High Court dismissed the Intelligence Bureau’s plea on Friday, which aimed to retract its objection against the bench overseeing the audio leaks case.

This plea, submitted shortly after three other government entities were fined by the court for their respective petitions related to the case, was turned down by Justice Babar Sattar of the IHC today.

Earlier this week, the court imposed fines of Rs500,000 each on three government bodies—Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)—while dismissing their individual petitions on the matter. Although IB was not fined initially, its Joint Director General Tariq Mehmood was summoned for the upcoming hearing.

The audio leak case, implicating the son of former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Bushra Bibi, the wife of PTI founder Imran Khan, has been under Justice Sattar’s jurisdiction since it emerged in 2023.

During the proceedings, the Assistant Attorney General informed the court of IB’s desire to withdraw its objection to Justice Sattar’s presence on the bench. Justice Sattar clarified that the objection petition had already been dismissed, and if any order concerning the application’s dismissal arises, IB would be notified accordingly.

The judge hinted at the possibility of issuing a contempt of court notice to the Director General of IB in the event of non-compliance with the court’s decision.

The judge also highlighted that the dismissal order questioned the authority behind filing the petition, indicating that the AAG could respond after the issuance of the order.

All parties, including IB, FIA, Pemra, and PTA, argued in their petitions that the cases involving Bushra Bibi and the ex-CJP’s son should be heard by the same bench that handled a similar matter in 2021.

They requested Justice Sattar’s recusal to ensure consistency in decision-making. This request came after six IHC judges, including Justice Sattar, wrote to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), raising concerns about intelligence agencies’ interference in judicial matters, potentially undermining judicial independence. The judges called for a judicial convention to address these concerns.

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