Home Latest News Bars, PTI Call for Probe into Allegations of ‘Interference’ in Judiciary

Bars, PTI Call for Probe into Allegations of ‘Interference’ in Judiciary

Various bodies urge CJP to take notice of allegations and evolve mechanisms to fix responsibility ensure judicial independence

by Staff Report
Supreme Court of Pakistan

File photo. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Various bar councils on Wednesday called for a probe into a letter penned by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging interference in judicial affairs by the country’s intelligence agencies.

A day earlier, a letter addressed to members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) went public, with the six judges alleging various attempts to pressure them for favorable outcomes through abduction and torture of their relatives and secret surveillance of their homes. The letter sought the convening of a judicial convention to debate the matter and questioned whether it was state policy to “intimidate” judges.

On Wednesday, the country’s bar associations held “emergency” meetings to discuss the contents of the letter. In a statement after its meeting, the IHC Bar Association (IHCBA) demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa hold a “transparent inquiry” into the matter and initiate legal action against anyone involved in the alleged harassment. Strongly condemning “the interference of one institution into the matters of another institution,” it demanded the judiciary ensure all its decisions were delivered independently as per law and the Constitution and without any fear. It also commended the six IHC judges for their “courage and bravery,” adding it was willing to, if necessary, take any step required for the supremacy of the Constitution and the law.

“The IHCBA would not even hesitate from holding a lawyers representative convention, countrywide lawyers convention, strike, hunger strike and running a movement if needed for the judiciary’s independence,” it added.

The Balochistan Bar Council similarly called on the CJP to take suo motu notice of the allegations, stressing any interference in judicial matters was “condemnable and unacceptable in any circumstances.” The provincial bar council demanded the Pakistan Bar Council convene a conference of lawyers from across the country to decide on a plan of action.

The Sindh High Court Bar Association described the allegations of the letter as “extremely serious,” and stressed the independence of the judiciary was fundamental to the protection of constitutional rights, the promotion of justice, and the maintenance of a just democratic society. Describing the stance of the six judges as “courageous,” it called for the establishment of institutional mechanisms to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, “including measures to project judges from threats and external influence and strengthen accountability mechanisms within the judiciary.”

It further called for the formation of a judicial commission comprising three judges of the Supreme Court to investigate and probe the allegations

In an open letter, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Additional Secretary Sardar Shahbaz Ali Khosa—a son of PTI leader Latif Khosa—urged the CJP to take suo motu notice of the matter and conduct a “thorough and transparent hearing” of the case. He also called for an “immediate and rigorous scrutiny” into the allegations and sought a meeting of the SJC to fix responsibilities.

The PTI, meanwhile, also called for an inquiry into the allegations, urging all bar councils and associations to set aside political differences and take efforts to rid the judiciary of “interference.” He said the PTI would stand with the legal fraternity in any steps it took to achieve this.

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