Recently, the Supreme Court of Islamabad (IHC) granted Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan a four-week period to answer five key questions from the court. These questions relate to the recordings of telephone conversations and whether parliament had the legal power to investigate the activities of private individuals.
Does parliament have legal authority to investigate via recordings of telephone conversations?
Justice Babar Sattar issued the order during a hearing on a petition filed by Mian Najam-us-Saqib, son of former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. The petition questions the establishment of a special committee by the Speaker of the National Assembly to investigate some leaked audio recordings related to Najam-us-Saqib.
Lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan was also present in court to assist with the proceedings. AGP Mansoor Awan told the court that the case had also been taken to the Supreme Court and asked the judiciary to await the answers to the questions currently being discussed in the apex court.
The petitioner’s lawyer even argued that the issue at hand is related to the fundamental rights of Pakistan’s 25 million inhabitants. The question that arose was how the government could form a judicial commission without appointing the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Khosa went on to say that the government should have consulted the chief justice so that he could nominate the judges to be part of the investigation. As a result, the court extended the stay of the special commission’s summons to Najam-us-Saqib and postponed the hearing to August 16 for further proceedings.
Mian Najam has submitted the petition through his counsel Sardar Latif Khosa and Shoaib Shaheen Advocate, naming the Federation of Pakistan, the Secretary of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairman of the Special Committee as respondents . He further claimed that Parliament has no power to investigate such matters. It would not be wrong to say that the power to scrutinize and scrutinize the actions of citizens is an executive function.
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