Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Pak judges allege intel agencies’ interference in judicial matters


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ISLAMABAD, March 27: In an unprecedented move, six judges of the Islamabad High Court sought in-tervention by the Supreme Judicial Council, the highest body authorised to take action against judges of high and supreme courts in Pakistan, against the alleged interference in the working of the judiciary by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agencies.
A letter signed by six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges demanded the SJC headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa initiate a judicial convention against such interference in judicial affairs.
The letter also advocated adopting a stance to ensure the judiciary’s independence through the conven-tion.
“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 in-telligence agencies, that seek to interfere with discharge of his/ her official functions and qualify as intim-idation, as well as the duty to report any such actions that come to his/her attention in relation to col-leagues and/or members of the courts that the High Court supervises,” the letter stated It goes on to highlight the interference of the executive and agencies in judicial matters, including the kidnapping and torture of the brother-in-law of a high court judge to put pressure on the judge regarding 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 judi-cial independence,” it said.
PTI demands probe
Imran Khan-founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has demanded an “impartial inquiry” into the allegations raised by Islamabad High Court judges of alleged interference by the intelli-gence agencies in judicial matters, Dawn reported.
The PTI has called the letter a “charge sheet” and has also requested security for the judges who made the allegations.
Incarcerated former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a post on X, welcomed the “six brave judges” who have highlighted the “alarming state of affairs of the higher judiciary” and called for an “impartial inquiry” into the matter. “This letter, with its two annexures, brings on the record the brazen and shameful interference of the intelligence agencies in judicial matters, which is a damning indictment against the independence of the judiciary in the country,” the statement read.
“The fact that the judges have been intimidated and coerced into giving judgments based on political expediency raises a lot of questions on the fairness of the courts and their judgments over the last two years,” it added.
Also, the PTI chief Gohar Khan sought the safety of the judges who had written the letter as well as their families.
“We also demand that the inquiry, investigation and proceedings are conducted by the SC in open court. This is extremely important for the independence of the judiciary,” he told journalists.
The letter is believed to be unprecedented as it officially highlights the alleged involvement of executive and intelligence agencies in the matters of the judiciary and seeks the support of the SJC, the highest body, to take action against judges and provide guidance on such matters.
Meanwhile, legal community has also demanded an independent probe into the allegations.
The IHC Bar Association “strongly condemned the interference of one institution into the matters of another institution” and demanded the chief justice for a “transparent inquiry” into the matter and that action be taken against those involved. (Agencies)


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