Game of leaks

Never right, never okay

It’s an open secret. The spooks, as it were, snoop in on the private conversations of just about anyone in the country. One wouldn’t be surprised if these bloated organisations aren’t listening in even on the star players of the Pakistan cricket team and leading TV serial actors, what to speak of top politicians and office holders.

The recent leaked conversations of the family members of the Chief Justice is yet another iteration of the same disgusting practice. Nothing new in this macabre practice. The problem, however, is that the ruling coalition – and within that, the ruling party – has reacted to it in the exact same way as the current opposition did when the tables were turned: with glee and gloating remarks.

The premier’s party isn’t a stranger to this horrid practice. And it certainly expected to have more maturity (by virtue of seniority, if nothing else) than the current opposition. For it to weaponize these private conversations is rather ironic, given how many times its members have been on the receiving end.

Yes, the issue of the partiality of certain members of the judiciary is a valid concern in healthy, functioning democracies the world over. But for the aforementioned bias to be highlighted, mature political parties cite judgments and statements by members of the apex judiciary, and not the tactics of the gutter. If these recordings aren’t obtained by the political government – and knowing the history of our deep state, they probably won’t – it should still be treated like the fruit of a poisoned tree and not used for political purposes.

The frequency and timings of the release of these illegal phone tapping recordings clearly suggests why they are made; to inflict reputational harm, directly or indirectly on public figures, typically politicians, bureaucrats and judges. The engineers of this increasingly common practice can only be revealed and held accountable for their actions if these recordings are not used as political tools by the very politicians they target, against one another.

It is time of the political class of the country to rise above such tactics – and agreeing to use them – and focus on the politics of ideas and principles.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].

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