ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday suspended the summons issued to Najam Saqib, son of former Chief Justice of Pakistan justice (r) Saqib Nisar, by the Parliamentary Committee set up to probe the purported audio leaks and sought a reply from the government in the case by June 19.
A single member bench comprising Justice Babar Sattar heard the plea.
The court issued the directives while hearing a petition filed by Najam Saqib, the son of ex-CJP Saqib Nisar, against a National Assembly committee constituted to investigate a purported audio leak, wherein a voice said to be his could be heard demanding a “reward” from a PTI leader for securing him the party ticket to contest Punjab elections.
“Who records the audios,” Justice Babar Sattar asked as the IHC took up the case. The court sought a response from the government by June 19 and also barred the NA committee from taking any action against the ex-CJP’s son.
In his petition, Najam had requested the court to stop the proceedings of the parliamentary panel headed by Aslam Bhootani as the body was formed in violation of the National Assembly rules.
He also claimed that the committee did not summon him but the secretary of the committee still asked him to appear before the panel.
During the hearing, Justice Sattar inquired about the powers under which the committee had issued a notice. “Is this a special committee?” he asked.
Najam’s lawyer, Sardar Latif Khosa, said that the special committee would follow the same rules as those for regular committees.
“You will have to make the relevant ministry a part of the case,” Justice Sattar said. Khosa, however, responded by saying that there was no relevant ministry in this case but that they would do so.
The lawyer argued that their petition had stated that the NA speaker and the assembly did not have the jurisdiction to probe “private matters”.
“We have not challenged the matter that is currently being heard by the Supreme Court,” he said, referring to the pleas against the formation of a judicial commission formed to probe recent audio leaks.
He underlined that the audio in question was a private phone call between two private individuals and should not be subject to scrutiny by parliament.
An alleged audio leak of the former CJP Saqib Nisar’s son Najam Saqib with a PTI ticket holder emerged online.
In the first part of the audio leak, Najam Saqib and PTI ticket-holder Abuzar Chaddhar can be heard talking about tickets while the second part comprises a call recording between Najam and Mian Uzair.
In the leaked audio clip, the person believed to be Saqib Nisar’s son can purportedly be heard discussing the distribution of PTI tickets with the party’s candidate from the PP-137 constituency.
Najam had also challenged the “legality and validity” of the National Assembly speaker’s decision to form the special committee to “audit, inquire and investigate” his alleged audio clip.
“Under the garb of these audio leaks, a campaign has been launched against the petitioner and his father that some kind of gratification has been obtained by Abuzar Chaddhar for the said ticket,” he said.
While he conceded that his father played a role in the award of a PTI ticket to Chaddhar, the petition, however, stated that Chaddhar explored other avenues as well to secure the party ticket.
Najam said, “the petitioner is very clear in his mind that Abuzar Chaddhar was given the ticker on the basis of positive decision taken in the appeal on merit”.
According to the petition, “The audio leak is a result of illegal surveillance of the petitioner’s privacy which can neither be disseminated nor be used for incriminating the petitioner”. Citing its evidential value, the petition said “any document or audio leak cannot be used in any trial or inquiry” unless it is clear that who recorded it or for what purpose.