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US forensic firm says getting threats for authenticating ‘audio’

Murtaza Ali Shah
Thursday, Nov 25, 2021

LONDON: A US-based firm that conducted the forensic analysis of an alleged Saqib Nisar audio, has said its staff has received a threatening call for authenticating the audio tape of former Pakistan chief justice for the FactFocus website, run by journalist Ahmed Noorani.

Garrett Discovery said its staff were threatened to obtain a different result of the alleged Saqib Nisar audio. The forensic laboratory said via twitter: “Today we received a call saying our lives are in danger and the same person said he is going to file in court against us for our work authenticating a file for Fact Focus. 1000+ calls and chat requests on our site. Threatening our team to obtain a different result is unethical.”

The firm did not mention who the caller was and from which country but added that life threats were made to its staff. The forensic laboratory also later tweeted that it had been contacted by a private Pakistani TV channel that ran a story saying that the audio clip “appears to be pieced together from two separate speeches” of the former chief justice.

Garret Discovery’s twitter handle said the private channel also called and “and we are not going to answer questions about our client, the work or make an opinion over the phone”. The account that tweeted about the threats is unverified but it has been posting the forensic firm’s work for a long time and the same account is mentioned on the firm’s website as the official account.

Speaking to this publication, a spokesman for Garret Discovery said earlier that the FactFocus website commissioned it for the forensic examination of the clip and the certificate was issued after the professional forensic test requirements were met. The spokesman said: “We did perform work for FactFocus.”

The spokesman said it is the usual practise of all professional firms to not release any documents in public domain unless allowed by the client — the FactFocus in this case.

When asked what was the task and scope of the work FactFocus or reporter Ahmed Noorani assigned to the forensic laboratory, the spokesman said Garret Discovery was bound by the legal terms not to release parts of the forensic report to anyone unless authorised by its client, the FactFocus.

The spokesman said: “As part of our standard agreement we have a confidentiality clause that prohibits us from speaking about the scope of work or work we performed. We have no problem releasing details as long as our client signs an agreement allowing us to do so. Please contact FactFocus with any inquiries as to the work we performed and discuss with them any release of information. We will not comment anymore on this issue until that time.”

When contacted by this reporter, Ahmed Noorani said Garret Discovery has confirmed that the audio tape of Saqib Nisar is authentic, no editing was done on it and that a forensic test was done and then a report issued. Noorani revealed that the genuineness of the tape was first confirmed through our own sources and means and when it was proven to be genuine only then Garret Discovery was hired for the formal certification of the audio tape.

The original audio released by the FactFocus carried the following alleged audio of Saqib Nisar making damning statements on how Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were jailed in 2018: “Saqib Nisar: Let me be a little blunt about it; unfortunately, here it is the “institutions” who dictate judgments. In this case, we will have to penalise Mian Sahib. And “they” say “we shall bring Khan Sahib”. Regardless of the merit, we will have to do it, and even to his daughter.

Other person: But, in my view, his daughter doesn’t merit a sentence.

“Saqib Nisar: You are absolutely correct. I did talk to “friends” that something be done about this but they did not agree. There will be no independence of the judiciary, so let it be ……..”

As soon as the audio was released, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf ministers and supporters of Saqib Nisar termed the audio as fake and an attack on institutions. The PML-N said it was vindication that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter were prosecuted through judicial manipulation.

A private TV channel said it had obtained audio samples of Saqib Nisar from his public speeches which were similar to the FactFocus audio. These were the words and phrases that were matched: “Let me be little blunt about it; absolutely correct; I said to my friends that something be done about it but my friends didn’t agree. There will be no independence of the judiciary.”

However, the private channel or any other source has not yet countered the following words and phrases that are part of the leaked audio and which the FactFocus claims were said by Saqib Nisar about Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Imran Khan and the institutions. These are: “Unfortunately, here it is the “institutions” who dictate judgments; In this case, we will have to penalise Mian Sahib; And “they” say “we shall bring Khan Sahib; Regardless of the merit, we will have to do it, and even to his daughter; But, in my view, his daughter doesn’t merit a sentence;

“Saqib Nisar: You are absolutely correct. I did talk to “friends” that something be done about this but they did not agree. There will be no independence of the judiciary, so let it be ……..”