IHC seeks report from DG ISI, FIA on alleged leaked audio involving Bushra Bibi and Latif Khosa

Published December 7, 2023
Justice Babar Sattar. — Photo courtesy: IHC website
Justice Babar Sattar. — Photo courtesy: IHC website

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday sought a report from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and other relevant authorities on how an audio of an alleged conversation between Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, and her lawyer, Latif Khosa, was leaked online.

The court’s directives, which also called for reports from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and National Database Registration Authority (Nadra), were issued by Justice Babar Sattar, who took up a petition filed by Imran’s spouse a day ago.

Recently, a conversation reportedly featuring Bibi and her counsel, Khosa, was leaked on social media. During an interaction with journalists, Khosa had confirmed the authenticity of the audio call.

In the clip, a voice suggested to be of Bibi tells her lawyer that Imran’s sisters were not happy with her for hiring him.

On Wednesday, she filed a plea seeking action against those behind leaking the conversation.

The application, filed in the IHC through Khosa, cited the principal secretary to the prime minister and secretaries of defence and interior as respondents. It stated the audio was broadcast on the media out of context.

The PTA stated before the IHC that recording of private conversation is prohibited, the plea contended.

The hearing

As the hearing commenced, Justice Babar Sattar inquired about the objections to the petition, to which Khosa responded: “An objection has been raised for the petitioner to file a separate petition.”

Khosa argued that a co-petition could also be filed. The judge subsequently removed the objections from the petition.

Justice Sattar then directed a forensic examination of the conversation, emphasising the need to investigate the origin of the audio.

He further stated a copy of the court order must also be sent to the ISI director general and added that the ISI DG must also submit a report as to who released the audio.

The court issued notices to the FIA, Pemra, and the PTA, with the judge asking Pemra: “The Pemra must tell [us] as to how private conversations between people are being aired on TV channels.”

Khosa emphasised the “privileged” nature of a conversation between a client and a lawyer.

In response, the judge quipped “you must know that the big boss is listening to everything”, eliciting laughter in the courtroom.

Justice Sattar inquired about the recorder of conversations, to which Khosa replied: “Everyone knows who records conversations.”

The judge responded: “We cannot proceed on hearsay.”

Khosa said it was an issue for lawyers across the country, not just his.

“How can the justice system function if a lawyer cannot speak to his client freely?” Khosa questioned.

The judge inquired about the audio’s release on social media, and Bibi’s counsel responded, stating that the audio had been broadcast by nearly all TV channels.

Justice Sattar further asked: “Did it initially surface on Twitter [now X] or somewhere else?”

He mentioned that identifying the origin of the audio leak could assist in determining who recorded the conversation.

Khosa added that people avoid speaking to him, citing, “My phone is insecure.”

Following the arguments, the court adjourned the hearing until December 11.

The leaked conversation

In the clip that surfaced on social media, a voice suggested to be of Bibi tells her lawyer that Imran’s sisters were not happy with her for hiring him.

As per the clip, Bibi told her sisters-in-law that she will hand all cases, which were being delayed, to Khosa. She also purportedly said that Imran’s sister had claimed that Khosa misbehaved with her.

The voice suggested to belong to the former first lady also shared that Imran’s sisters were also not happy with her statement in which she expressed apprehension that the PTI chairman could be poisoned in jail.

During the conversation, Khosa said he did not misbehave with the sisters and only told them that they should let him fight the case without interference.

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