LAHORE: The audio-leak saga on Saturday took an interesting turn as a fresh clip emerged, purportedly featuring the voice of the son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar, demanding a “reward” for a “job done for a PTI ticket candidate”.

In the audio, a voice purported to be that of Najam Saqib can be heard saying to the person on the other end that his father had worked very hard to get the job done and the caller on the other side, said to be PTI ticket hopeful Abuzar Chaddhar, can be heard saying he would come to meet Najam’s father after submitting the ticket.

In the clip, the voice said to be Najam’s can also be heard asking Mr Chaddhar to meet his father the same day and, in conversation with another caller — identified as Mian Uzair — asking for “not only delivery of the goods, don’t take less than 120”.

Former chief justice admits recommending current ticket holder, says he can intercede on anyone’s behalf

Mr Chaddhar was granted a PTI ticket in the second phase when party chairman Imran Khan reviewed and changed his earlier decision for 22 seats.

In the audio, a voice purported to be of Mr Chaddhar’s can be heard as saying that “your efforts have paid off” and he would come straight to meet him [ex-CJP] after submitting the ticket [with the ECP] before 12 noon.

After the first phase of interviews, Mr Khan had granted party ticket to Malik Iqbal for PP-137 (Sheikhup­ura-III). However, he changed the decision allegedly after the former CJP’s intervention and recommendation.

According to Geo News, the former CJP confirmed that the audio was of his son’s but that the facts had been “doctored”.

Admitting that he had recommended Mr Chaddhar for the PTI ticket, the ex-CJP said he was now a private person and could recommend anyone and no one should have any issue about it. He, however, denied taking any bribe for the recommendation and said, “A curse on those who take money”.

The former CJP also said that those who recorded his son’s conversation were “hypocrites”.

Reacting to the audio leak, PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz castigated the former CJP in her tweet saying, “Think, those who have retired now, how would they be misusing their powers when they were occupying offices”.

She said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was silent but the cruel faces of conspirators and their nexus were getting exposed every day.

In another tweet, she stated, “Think, sitting on the apex seat of justice, the decisions of the fate of the state are being made for the sake of entertaining mothers-in-law, sons-in-law and children or for their financial interests”.

In the history of the world, Ms Nawaz added, such a hideous judicial joke had never happened to any state.

She said that those who imposed Imran Khan and the former CJP were the criminals of Pakistan and deserve punishment. “The state is waiting for justice!” she demanded.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Interior Attaullah Tarar told a news conference that evidence in the form of audiotapes of getting bribe for grant of tickets to the candidates had exposed the real face of PTI and its belief in justice.

“From the PTI chief to other senior leaders, including Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, everyone has been found involved in bribery, as disclosed in the audiotapes, making rounds on the social media,” he said.

Mr Tarar said PTI claimed itself to be a party based on justice, but its entire leadership was involved in minting money for award of party tickets. “It is a serious matter and needs to be investigated,” he added.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2023

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