ISLAMABAD: The Pa­k­­­istan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has requested Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to recuse himself from hearing the audio leak case.

Pemra, a party in the audio leak case, submitted a miscellaneous application before the IHC as the court is scheduled to resume hearing on Monday (tomorrow).

In the application, the electronic media watchdog contended that since another IHC bench had already dealt with an identical matter, Justice Sattar should recuse himself so that the same bench that had issued an order in the same matter may proceed on the petitions in hand.

Justice Sattar was hearing the petitions filed by son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar, Najam Saqib, and spouse of former prime minister Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi.

Mr Saqib had challenged the inquiry of a parliamentary committee on his alleged audio in which he was seeking bribe for PTI ticket to a politician.

Ms Bibi in her petition challenged the inquiry initiated by the FIA on the basis of her alleged conversation.

Justice Sattar at a hearing had asked the intelligence agencies, Pakistan Telecommunication Autho­rity to trace the source of the audio leak while Pemra was directed not to broadcast the unauthorised and leaked conversation of citizens.

The state institutions, however, expressed helplessness in coping up with the sensitive issue of privacy breach, as they hold smartphone apps responsible for audio leaks.

Earlier, Pemra chairman Mriza Saleem Baig informed the court that the Council of Complaint has become active and they can take action against any TV channel for airing un­­verified and personal conversation of the citizens.

The IB and the ISI in their reports informed the court that the phone calls could be tapped through mobile apps and viruses. The ISI in its report expressed its inability to trace the source of the leaks, citing encryption as a significant barrier.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2024

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