Sunday, February 5, 2023

Cypher audio leak case: LHC stays FIA’s notice to Imran Khan

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued a stay order on the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) call-up notice to former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in cypher audio leak case, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

Justice Asjad Javed Ghural heard the petition filed by PTI chief Imran Khan to challenge the jurisdiction of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe into the cypher audio leak case.

The high court suspended the FIA’s call-up notice to Imran Khan till further orders. The LHC judge also directed the intelligence agency to submit a detailed reply on December 19.

During the hearing, Khan’s counsel Salman Safdar argued that the FIA’s probe into the case was politically motivated and aimed to dent the reputation of the PTI chief. He said that cypher is a secret and sensitive diplomatic document.

READ: CYPHER AUDIO INQUIRY: SHAH MAHMOOD QURESHI SUMMONED BY FIA

The judge questioned what action was taken against the responsible who leaked the confidential conversation of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The lawyer replied that the FIA launched the inquiry after collecting the leaked audio tape from the internet. He added that there is no confirmation whether the audio tape is original or fake. The lawyer said that the federal government is using the Federal Investigation Agency.

The lawyer added that an assassination attempt was made on Imran Khan after the registration of cases across the country. He said that the FIA is summoning his client when doctors advised staying on bed rest.

The court questioned whether an inquiry could be initiated without conducting the forensic examination of an audio tape. The judge also questioned whether more people will be quizzed other than the three to four persons or not.

READ: AUDIO LEAKS ISSUE TO BE INVESTIGATED IN A TRANSPARENT MANNER: SHEHBAZ SHARIF

Later, the LHC ordered the agency to submit a detailed response in the case and adjourned the hearing till December 19.

Salman Safdar told the media that the LHC issued a stay order on FIA’s action and Imran Khan could not be summoned now.

In October, the federal Cabinet decided to take legal action on the audio leaks with regard to cypher. In September, back-to-back audio leaks had surfaced on social media.

On September 28, a purported audio of ex-PM Imran Khan and his aide Azam Khan discussing US cypher, which the PTI chief claimed led to the ouster of his government, was leaked.

Azam Khan can be heard informing former prime minister Khan about the controversial diplomatic cable in the alleged conversation. Later, more audio conversations related to the diplomatic cable were leaked online.

Following the audio leaks, the federal cabinet approved initiating the FIA probe and legal action over the audio leak about the cypher.

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