Does constitution allow recording of citizens' calls, asks IHC

Does constitution allow recording of citizens' calls, asks IHC


Says who will be responsible for releasing illegally-recorded calls

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - The Islamabad High Court has issued a written order suspending the summons of former chief justice Saqib Nisar's son on a petition against the formation of a special committee to probe the audio leak. 

Islamabad High Court's Justice Babar Sattar has issued a seven-page written order. 

In the written order, the court has sought assistance of the Attorney General on the recordings and audio leaks of the telephonic conversations of the public. The court has also directed the Federation, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to be made parties to the petition. 

All the parties, including the secretary of the National Assembly, have been instructed to give a clause-wise reply. The court has appointed Aitzaz Ahsan, Makhdoom Ali Khan, Raza Rabbani and Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha as amici curiae. 

In the written order, the court said it should be stated whether the constitution and the law allowed surveillance and secret recording of the calls of the citizens? “If phone recording was allowed, which authority or agency could do this by what mechanism? What safeguards were in place to keep audio recordings confidential and prevent misuse?" 

"If not permitted, which authority was responsible for violation of citizens' privacy? The court had asked who would be responsible for releasing illegally recorded calls? Tell whether Parliament could inquire into the matter of a private person? Do the rules allow the speaker to set up a special committee on audio leak of a common man?” the court further asked. 

Justice Sattar said the court was not suspending notification of the special committee out of respect for parliament and showing restraint. 

According to the order of the Islamabad High Court, the summons issued by the special committee to petitioner Najamus Saqib was suspended.