The Ministry of Defence has categorically denied any role in the recording and subsequent leaking of telephone conversations involving government officials and other prominent individuals. This statement was made on Monday in response to petitions filed by former first lady Bushra Bibi and Najam Saqib, the son of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, who were allegedly featured in leaked telephonic conversations.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) was overseeing these petitions, and both the Interior Ministry and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) also submitted their responses.
Justice Babar Sattar, presiding over the case, noted that the government’s responses indicated that it lacked the means to record telephone conversations. He requested a comprehensive report from the government and cautioned that the court might include Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as respondents if necessary.
The judge expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s response submitted to the court.
Bushra Bibi’s legal counsel informed the court that the FIA had repeatedly summoned the former first lady for a voice-matching test, prompting her to file the appeal seeking a restraining order.
Justice Sattar explained that he could not halt an ongoing inquiry and advised the counsel to file a petition if there were concerns about the violation of the petitioner’s fundamental rights.
During a previous hearing, the court combined separate petitions filed by Mr. Saqib and Ms. Bushra.
In her petition, the wife of former Prime Minister Imran Khan sought a restraining order against the FIA’s ongoing investigation into her alleged leaked audio conversation with PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari regarding the sale of Toshakhana gifts.
Mr. Saqib, in his petition, challenged parliamentary proceedings against him concerning an alleged audio where he purportedly solicited a bribe from a candidate for PTI’s ticket for the Punjab Assembly elections.
Ms. Bushra criticized the media for broadcasting the leaked conversation, claiming that it damaged her reputation. Her petition argued that the leaked audio and discussions in the media were orchestrated to harm her dignity, integrity, and reputation, as well as that of her husband, the former prime minister of Pakistan. She cited a violation of Article 4 of the Constitution, stating that the audio was aired with the cooperation of electronic media and law enforcement agencies.
The petition referred to a Supreme Court judgment, asserting that the federal government or any state agency lacked the authority or jurisdiction to record private conversations between citizens and conduct surveillance.