Leaks commission seeks information from public

Judicial commission makes it clear it will not accept documents sent anonymously

Aqeel Afzal May 24, 2023


The judicial commission formed on Saturday to probe into some leaked audio clips allegedly featuring some serving and former judges and their family members has published a public notice asking people to share information with regard to the audios.

In the notice, the commission has asked the people with any information relating to the matter to share it with the inquiry commission’s secretary Hafeezullah Khajjak at his email address or phone number.

Such details may also be mailed to the office of the head of the commission—Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The notice, however, makes it clear that the people providing information or documents must disclose their full name, mailing address, email address and cell-phone numbers. “Anonymous communication will not be accepted,” it adds.

The federal government on May 20 formed a judicial commission to probe into over half a dozen leaked audio clips allegedly involving some current and former members of superior judiciary and their family members to determine their “veracity" and "impact on the independence of the judiciary”.

The three-man judicial commission is led by Supreme Court senior puisne judge Justice Isa and comprises Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

Also read: Isa-led judicial panel to probe ‘leaked audios of judges’

Formed under Section 3 of the Inquiry Commission Act, 2017, the commission is mandated to probe into the audios that have surfaced in the last few months—particularly since the Supreme Court has taken suo motu notice of delay in announcement of polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The notification said the audios widely circulated on traditional and social media have raised serious apprehensions about the independence, impartiality and uprightness of the chief justices and judges of superior courts in the administration of justice.

“Such audio leaks have eroded public trust [in the judiciary] and serious concerns have been raised by the general public regarding independence, impartiality and uprightness of the former chief justices/judges of superior courts.”

Under the Constitution, it said, the independence, integrity and character of chief justices and judges are of utmost importance for keeping the public trust and confidence in the administration of justice.

“Judiciary is one of the main pillars under the Constitution and the society’s confidence is shattered when independence of judiciary is tarnished,” it said.

Also read: Judges kick off ‘open’ probe into audio leaks

As the commission initiated its probe on Monday, Justice Isa clarified that this investigation is neither of a criminal nature nor will it step on the Supreme Judicial Council’s (SJC) jurisdiction.

“All persons involved will be treated with due respect and are expected to uphold the same in their replies. We are only here to find facts and not to take action against anyone.”

Justice Isa stressed that while the commission would remain open to receiving relevant information from any person who wished to provide it, the provider must identify themselves clearly. Any information received from anonymous persons would not be taken into consideration.

The commission also warned that action might be taken against relevant officials if any mistakes are found in the transcripts of the audios. The federal government was asked to submit the said recordings as well as all details pertaining to the matter by May 24 (today).


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