An audio clip recently surfaced on social media in which purportedly former first lady Bushra Bibi can be heard instructing Dr Arsalan Khalid to spread the narrative of treason and foreign conspiracy on social media and not let the matter fade.
Hamid Mir said that several other such audios and videos have also been taped, some of which he has seen himself. These audios and videos are not of Imran Khan but they are of PTI leaders. However, Hamid Mir said that he believes that these audio/video tapes will not be leaked as they contain content which cannot be aired on media. Nevertheless, further audio/video leaks is not an impossibility.
These tapes can be leaked but taking action upon these possible leaks would be difficult as they might not fulfill the admissibility criteria as set out by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Hamid Mir pointed out the decision of the Supreme Court in the Arshad Malik case, which lay out 21 conditions which must be fulfilled for an audio or video to be admissible in court. The most important of these conditions is that, whoever records an audio or video must come out before court and present the reason for recording the audio/video tape. Furthermore, forensic test of any leaked audio/video is also a precondition for it to be admissible in court.
Commenting on audio leak scandal, Hamid Mir said that declaring political opponents as traitor is an age old trend in Pakistan, it can be traced back to the creation of Pakistan. So far as A.K. Fazlul Huq—who played a key role in the creation of Pakistan and presented the 23rd March resolution—was declared a traitor after the creation of Pakistan in 1956. Similarly, General Ayub had accused Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy (another elected leader from Bengal) of treason. Moving on, Fatima Jinnah, sister of Quaid-e-Azam and widely regarded as ‘Mother of the Nation’, was declared Indian agent by General Ayub during 1956 elections.
Hence labelling political opponents as traitors is an old trend in Pakistan and even founding fathers have not been spared, Hamid Mir pointed out.
Similarly leaking audio tapes is also an old phenomenon in Pakistan, for instance, an audio was leaked in late 1990s in which Shehbaz Sharif could be heard instructing then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Saif-ur-Rehman that Asif Zardari must be sentenced to prison soon. Another example is of the relatively recent video leak showing Arshad Malik, who was an accountability court judge; action was taken upon the video leak and Arshad Malik was terminated from service.
Read More: The politics of audio-visual leaks