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Six Islamabad High Court judges allege intelligence businesses’ interference in judicial issues

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A view of the Islamabad High Court. File
| Photo Credit: AFP

In an unprecedented transfer, six judges of the Islamabad High Court sought intervention by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) towards the alleged interference within the working of the judiciary by Pakistan’s highly effective intelligence businesses.

A letter signed by six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges demanded the SJC provoke a judicial conference towards such interference in judicial affairs.

The six judges who signed the letter, dated on March 25, embody Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz.

The letter additionally advocated adopting a stance to make sure the judiciary’s independence by way of the conference. The SJC is the best physique authorised to take motion towards judges of excessive and supreme courts.

“We are writing to seek guidance from the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) with regard to the duty of a judge to report and respond to actions on part of members of the executive, including operatives of intelligence agencies, that seek to interfere with discharge of his/ her official functions and qualify as intimidation, as well as the duty to report any such actions that come to his/her attention in relation to colleagues and/or members of the courts that the High Court supervises,” the letter acknowledged.

It goes on to spotlight the interference of the chief and businesses in judicial issues, together with the kidnapping and torture of the brother-in-law of a excessive court docket decide to place strain on the decide concerning a case.

“We will also note that the code of conduct for judges prescribed by SJC provides no guidance on how judges must react to and or report incidents that are tantamount to intimidation and interfere with judicial independence,” it stated.

The judges additional stated they “believe it is imperative to inquire into and determine whether there exists a continuing policy on the 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 improvement got here days after the highest court docket declared the elimination of former IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui unlawful, directing that he might now be thought of a retired decide.

The verdict famous that the SJC proceeded towards Justice Siddiqui on the “assumption that the truth or falseness of the allegations levelled” by the previous decide was “irrelevant”.

Mr. Siddiqui was sacked on October 11, 2018, by the SJC based mostly on a speech he had delivered weeks in the past on the Rawalpindi Bar Association during which he accused the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) — the highly effective intelligence company of the nation — of influencing the court docket proceedings and forming Benches of alternative.

In their letter, the IHC judges supported Justice Siddiqui’s request to research the allegations made by him.

The letter is believed to be unprecedented because it formally highlights the alleged involvement of government and intelligence businesses within the issues of the judiciary and seeks the help of the SJC, the best physique, to take motion towards judges and supply steerage on such issues.

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