- Top court also suspends operation of the federal government's notification in this regard
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Friday stayed the proceedings of the commission probing audio leaks which have surfaced on social media over the last few months and suspended the operation of the federal government's notification in this regard.
“In the circumstances, till the next date of hearing, the operation of the impugned notification No.SRO.596(I)/2023 dated 19.05.2023 issued by the Federal Government is suspended as is the order dated 22.05.2023 made by the Commission and in consequence thereof proceedings of the Commission are stayed,” the top court said.
The audio leaks in question involve a number of high-profile individuals, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. The leaks have been widely circulated on social media and have caused a great deal of political and legal controversy.
On May 19, the federal government constituted the judicial commission to investigate the audio leaks and to recommend action against those responsible for their release.
Ruling on the petitions filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and others, which challenged the formation of the commission, the Supreme Court ruled that the government did not have the authority to constitute such a panel without its approval. The court also expressed concern that the panel's proceedings could interfere with the ongoing investigation by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
During the hearing today, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial observed that the formation of the government-appointed judicial commission “interfered in the judiciary’s internal matters” and noted that there were errors in the notification issued by the government for the formation of the commission.
Justice Bandial further said, “We have no other structure but the power of morality and justice.”
After two-hour-long proceedings, the court reserved its verdict on the petitions and said that an appropriate order would be issued today.
In a written order released later in the day, the apex court issued notices to all the respondents in the petitions and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan.
It said the proceedings will be taken up again on May 31 (Wednesday).