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Tuesday, June 25, 2024  
18 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Judicial convention sought over alleged interference of spy agencies in judiciary

Six IHC judges write letter to Supreme Judicial Council
File photos of six Islamabad High Court judges who wrote the letter to the SJC on March 25, 2024. Pictures via IHC website
File photos of six Islamabad High Court judges who wrote the letter to the SJC on March 25, 2024. Pictures via IHC website

Six judges of Islamabad High Court have demanded that a judicial convention be summoned over the alleged interference of intelligence agencies in the judiciary.

“We believe that individual judges must not be required to be as brave as Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the chief justice of Pakistan, to fight persecution at the hands of the executive on their own, or as resolute as Justice Siddiqui, to continue to fight a wrong for personal vindication long after removal from office,” said the 12-page letter addressed to the five members of the Supreme Judicial Council.

The six judges who signed the letter are Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Rafat Imtiaz.

At least two letters written to the IHC chief justice on the same matter over the last two years were also made part of a dozen-page letter sent on Monday.

It contained 10 points, mentioning the events where alleged interference of spy agencies and the executive in the judiciary were seen.

One of the points mentioned former jurist Justice Siddiqui who publicly alleged that operatives of the Inter-Services Intelligence led by former DG Major General (retd) Faiz Hameed were determining the constitution of benches. He was “wrongfully” removed on a SJC report.

The SC restored Justice Siddiqui earlier this month, entitling to receive all the benefits and privileges due to a retired high court justice. But the six judges said the alleged interference of ISI at that time has been left open.

They supported the former judge’s request to investigate the allegations made by him and demanded that the scope of such investigation be expanded.

In their sixth point, they mentioned that some of the judges hearing case against former prime minister Imran Khan had sought extra security for their homes. “One of the judges had to be admitted in a hospital due to high blood pressure caused by stress.”

Moreover, the brother-in-law of a judge of IHC was abducted by armed in May 2023. He was returned at night approximately 24 hours after his abduction. Similarly, IHC’s inspection judge for district east Islamabad reported that judges of the district court were facing intimidation and at least one additional district and sessions judge had been threatened and crackers were thrown into his house to intimidate him.

They stressed the need for an institutional response to uphold and protect the independence of the judiciary if it was the “salient feature of the Constitution meant to uphold fundamental rights and dispense justice” according to the law.

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“We, therefore, request a judicial convention be called to consider the matter of interference of intelligence operatives with judicial functions and/or intimidation of judges in a manner that undermines the independence of the judiciary,” it said.

The judges were of the view that such a convention might provide further information as to whether judges of other high courts have had similar experiences.

“Such institutional consultation might then assist the Supreme Court to consider how best to protect independence of the judiciary, put in place a mechanism to affix liability for those who undermine such independence and clarify for the benefit of individual judges the course of action they must take when they find themselves at the receiving end of interference and/or intimidation by members of the executive.”

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