Their lordships of the Supreme Court are not known for their sense of irony. Therefore, it is to be assumed that the current spate of audio leaks involving them, the mother-in-law of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and a senior lawyer, escaped the bench hearing the case of the enquiry commission appointed by the government. The bench adjourned till any day next week, when it will take up the plea by the Attorney General for the reconstitution of the bench, excluding those members who were involved, either like the CJP through a relative, or personally, having been mentioned in one of the leaked conversations. The Supreme Court has thus kept the enquiry commission from continuing with the enquiry into what is after all a very important subject.
What is noticeable is that the whole question of leaks has been politicized, and no one is inclined to pursue the question of who is either tapping phones or faking the voices of participants sufficiently well to make them seem credible. The judicial community is presently being targeted, but not so long ago, it had become clear that the conversations in the Prime Minister’s office itself were being recorded. A culprit was discovered, but the leaks have not stopped. The presumption may be made that the judiciary was being tapped at that time too, and that the PM and ministers are not immune presently.
The enquiry commission seems to have become another battleground for the struggle within the Supreme Court over the Chief Justice’s power of forming benches. However, the essential question is still being ducked: who is making the recordings, or at least enough samples so that fakes may be concocted? And then releasing them in such a cloak-and-dagger fashion? The intelligence agencies are obvious suspects, but so far, not even a pro-forma denial has been obtained from them for the latest round of leaks. Any investigation should not be directed at partisan ends and finger pointing. It should be directed at uncovering the truth behind a scandal that has, one by one, reduced the credibility of all institutions. Institutions left alone should not be happy for two reasons: first, their turn might come any time; second, all institutions share in the discredit.