SC throws out plea against video recording, photo leak

sc-throws:ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Hussain Nawaz’s request to prohibit the joint investigation team (JIT) probing allegations of money laundering against the Sharif family from recording videos of the proceedings.

Hussain Nawaz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s elder son, had filed a request in the apex court earlier this month after a CCTV image of his appearance before the JIT was ‘leaked’. He had sought the formation of a commission to investigate the leaking of the photo. He had claimed in the request that the photo leak was against ethical and legal codes, adding that the recording videos of the JIT’s proceedings was akin to ‘pressurising’ witnesses appearing before the body. He claimed that the recording of proceedings does not allow witnesses to ‘speak without being treated like a criminal’.

The apex court, rejecting Hussain’s request, said that video recordings were only used to prepare the transcript. “Till the law is amended, the video recordings will not be shown in the court room,” Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, head of the special implementation bench of the Supreme Court, said. “Video recordings cannot be presented as evidence before the court,” the judge assured.

The judge also noted that action had been taken against one suspect identified in connection with the leaking of Hussain’s photo.

The federal government seems focused on influencing public opinion through the media rather than presenting a solid case on its apprehensions regarding the Panamagate probe in court, the bench remarked.

SC throws:Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan reiterated that the JIT was working on the directives of the SC and, therefore, any concerns regarding its functioning should be addressed directly to the court instead of being spread through media. “The media cannot be blamed for this since institutions provide them with prepared material,” he added.

He clarified that the court wants its proceedings, not rumours, to reach the people, adding, “There is no point in circulating baseless information in media.”

SC throws:Lending his voice on the issue, Justice Azmat Saeed commented that if one was to go by the day’s newspapers, it would appear that the attorney general’s services were no longer required. “The media seems to have already handed out the verdict on channels and newspapers,” he remarked. “Reports suggest that the government is getting [such reports] published itself.”

Justice Afzal also reiterated that the respondents (the Sharif family) could not be given months to submit their answers, as the JIT had to complete its proceedings in days.

The court postponed the hearing till after the Eid holidays, and said it would fix a date depending on the availability of the members of the bench.

SC throws:Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausuf told the court that there was no objection to the report of the investigation into the leaked photo being made public. However, the court said the report would not be disclosed to the public.

The court also ordered the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to file a reply to the SC in relation to the allegations against it.

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