Govt refutes Justice Sattar’s letter alleging ‘meddling’ in audio leaks case
ISLAMABAD: (Suno News) The federal government on Tuesday denied the contents of a letter, purportedly written by Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq alleging that security agencies used “intimidatory tactics” in a case pertaining to audio leaks.

 The contents from the letter stated that in the audio leaks case, the IHC had put on notice the heads of state intelligence agencies and institutions, ministries and media regulators.

“The question before the court is whether there exists a legal regime permitting surveillance of citizens. At some point during the hearing of the case, I was delivered messages on behalf of top officials in the security establishment asking me to ‘back-off’ from extensive scrutiny of the existence and mode of surveillance,” the letter said.

It maintained, “I paid no heed to such intimidatory tactics and did not find that such messages created a risk of substantial detriment to the administration of justice. The current malicious campaign’s focus on cases involving PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) appears to be an intimidatory tactic to influence court proceedings.”

In response to the letter, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Information Minister Attaullah Tarar addressed a press conference in Islamabad.

Azam Nazeer said that an impression had been given by the letter that “Pakistan’s intelligence or defence institutions want to somehow or are interfering in the working of judges”.

He reiterated the claim of the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) regarding a request made to keep surveillance capability-related briefings in-camera for the audio leaks case. He expressed agreement with the AGP’s stance and said that the law was all over the world and over here too and it should be as well.

The law minister said, “This is the reason why when you communicate through law officers or the officers of the AGP or advocate generals, then it is traditionally a better course for such requests to keep some matters in-camera.”

He said he was concerned regarding the way in had been interpreted, adding that the impression had been created as if there was interference in the judiciary.

He said that an independent judiciary was the one to take the country forward but it also had some responsibilities considering the challenges being faced by the country.

Afterwards, Information Minister Attaullah said that if a message by the AGP was sent to have an in-camera briefing then writing a letter after misconstruing it and taking it out of context was not at all rooted in reality.

He said, “If a request was made for an in-camera briefing then it was for national security and I want to make it clear that there will be no compromise on national security.”

“Do not take this issue this far. Understand that the issue is of national security and raising a question on the entire system of national security based on this one issue (is not right thing),” he said without naming the IHC judge

The minister called for not highlighting the issues of national security in letters like this.

He said, “If you want to discuss some issue then the chief justice can summon a full court and you have full access. To write a letter to the chief justice of the same court with whom you have daily meetings is I think akin to making the issue controversial.”