US Cipher Talks: Terms of Experts Investigate Audio Leaks of Imran’s ‘Futile Exercise’ – Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Government’s decision to investigate leaked audio of Pakistani leader Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan and his close aides allegedly discussing US encryption will be “an exercise in futility” as courts do not accept audio or video as evidence until the person who recorded these audios/videos presents them themselves as a witness, the security and justice expert said.
The federal government has instructed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate audio leaks in which Khan and his close aides Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and his former principal secretary Azam Khan allegedly discussed encryption and decided to do so. pose as a threat to the PTI government and the state.
Afzal Ali Shigri, Inspector General of Police (IGP) said the FIA could investigate the technical and legal aspects of the case. The FIA’s cybercrime wing, through forensic analysis of said audio, would establish that the audio is genuine or doctored, he said, adding that the agency would also find out who recorded that audio.
He said that on a legal level, the agency’s investigative team would look into the criminality of said discussion. Investigators would record the statement of Imran Khan and his close aides, the former police officer said. “Even if they prove the audio to be authentic and record the statements of Khan and others, the court will not accept it as evidence because no one will be willing to own that audio,” he said.
Raja Amir Abbas, a seasoned lawyer, confirmed that according to court rulings, the person recording the conversation or event must produce the audio or video tape themselves. If the FIA tried to file a complaint in this regard, the court would dismiss it in a single hearing, he said, adding that the FIA could register a case against anyone if a crime had been committed.
He said that if the government considers the Official Secrets Act to have been violated, the Home Secretary would become a plaintiff in this case, but he was not a plaintiff in this case.
According to a cabinet divisive document, the cabinet, in its meeting held on September 30, constituted a sub-committee to deliberate and recommend actions regarding the conversation of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, his political associates and the then Secretary to the Prime Minister, available on the Internet regarding the encrypted message received from Parep Washington (encrypted number I-0678 dated March 7, 2022) (Annex-l).
The cabinet subcommittee held its meeting on September 30 and recommended that “this is a matter of national security, which is/was injurious to the national interest and requires legal action. Therefore, the Supreme Investigation Agency (FIA) can be assigned to investigate the case by assembling a team of senior officers, who can co-opt officers/officials from other intelligence agencies for this purpose and prosecute proceedings against the perpetrators in accordance with the law”.
An FIA official said the agency has so far failed to assemble its team to investigate the audio leaks.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022