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Petition lands in SC seeking ‘open-court’ inquiry into IHC judges’ letter

Supreme Court urged to constitute powerful commission to probe the epistle: Bar Councils express concern over alleged interference in judicial matters

By News Desk

March 27, 2024 02:34 PM


Petition lands in SC seeking ‘open-court’ inquiry into IHC judges’ letter

Islamabad High Court.

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A constitutional petition has landed in the Supreme Court seeking “open-court” inquiry into the letter written by six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges accusing the premier intelligence agency of intimidating and coercing them over "politically consequential" cases, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The letter which was authored by the six judges dated Monday and was forwarded to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Tuesday urged the Council to call a judicial convention over the alleged interference.

The petition which was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday by lawyer Mian Dawood prayed the apex court to constitute a powerful commission to conduct the probe into the letter.

Mian Dawood in the petition said the that the “letter seemed to be a pre-planned conspiracy” and the SJC is not the institution to settle such disputes. The epistle is tantamount to make the judiciary controversial, he added.

The petition also states that the IHC judges penned this letter on a directive from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). Referring the letter to the SJC has made the whole affair suspicious, it adds.

IHC Bar denounces interference

The Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) has expressed concern over the alleged interference in judicial matters, stating that it fully believes in the independence and autonomy of the judiciary. "Public confidence in the justice system is linked to the independence and autonomy of the judiciary," the bar said, adding a question-mark on the judiciary harms the justice system and society.

The body, in its statement, said it stands with the principles of the rule of law, independence of judiciary and autonomy.

The bar demanded assurance that the judges should be able to perform their duty while adhering to the constitutional principle of an independent and autonomous judiciary.

The bar strongly condemned the interference by any institution in the affairs of another institution. It also demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa to conduct an inquiry and take an action against those involved in the matter.

The bar said it will not hesitate to launch a movement for the sake of judiciary's independence.

Lahore Bar seeks action

The Lahore Bar Association also condemned the interference in the judiciary's affairs, as highlighted in the letter of the six IHC judges. "Action should be taken against those who violate the constitution and law," it said, urging the CJP to provide full protection to the judges in the high courts and subordinate courts.

"We hope that the chief justice of Pakistan will make it possible for the judges appointed in the high and subordinate courts to deliver justice according to the law without fear or danger," the LBA statement said.

SHCBA shows concern

An emergency meeting called by Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) in Karachi on Wednesday reviewed the letter written by the IHC judges.

Expressing concern over the interference in judicial affairs, the SHCBA demanded setting up a judicial commission to probe the judges’ letter. The commission should be consisted of three Supreme Court judges, the Bar added.

The SHCBA also commended the IHC judges for exposing the interference in court affairs.

KP Bar flays interference

In a related development, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council also expressed concern over the IHC judges’ letter and also condemned interference in judicial matters.

In their letter, the six IHC judges have accused the intelligence agency of intimidating and coercing them over "politically consequential" cases.

The letter, dated Monday, makes numerous allegations including that in March 2023, "considerable pressure was brought to bear" on judges "by operatives of the agency" over a case facing PTI leader Imran Khan. "Fearing for their security, they sought additional protection for their homes," the letter said.

It also alleges a judge's brother-in-law was abducted by "individuals who claimed to be operatives of the agency" and "tortured into making false allegations".

On another occasion, a judge was said to have found secret cameras in his living room and bedroom.

"We believe it is imperative to inquire into and determine whether there exists a continuing policy on part of the executive branch of the state, implemented by intelligence operatives who report to the executive branch, to intimidate judges, under threat of coercion or blackmail, to engineer judicial outcomes in politically consequential matters," the letter reads.

 

Reporters Hashir Ahsan, Mumtaz Jamali and Amir Shahzad

 


News Desk


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