Home Latest News IHC Judges Seek Judicial Convention over ‘Interference’ of Spy Agencies

IHC Judges Seek Judicial Convention over ‘Interference’ of Spy Agencies

In letter, judges question if it is state policy to ‘intimidate’ judiciary for desired outcomes

by Staff Report

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) have urged the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to convene a judicial convention over the alleged interference of members of the executive, including intelligence agencies, in judicial affairs.

“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,” read the letter signed by Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Babar Sattar, Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Saman Fafat Imtiaz.

Addressed to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa; Supreme Court Justices Mansoor Ali Shah and Munib Akhtar; and chief justices of the IHC and Peshawar High Court, the letter refers to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the case of Justice (retd.) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who was wrongfully removed by the Supreme Judicial Council after alleging interference by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Noting the ruling had vindicated Siddiqui by reversing his removal, it regretted that it was not determined how the intelligence operatives interfered in judicial functions, nor was any accountability determined to deter such actions in future.

Questioning if there exists a state policy to “intimidate” and coerce judges, the letter—dated March 25—cites , the letter cites several instances of alleged interference and intimidation “to influence the outcome of cases of interest” by intelligence officials. One such case, it alleges, was when two of three judges in the bench hearing the plea to disqualify Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan for concealing his alleged daughter opined that the case was not maintainable, they were pressured by “operatives of the ISI” through friends and relatives. According to the letter, the stress of the situation led to one of the judges being admitted to hospital due to high blood pressure. It claims the matter was brought to the notice of the IHC chief justice and then-CJP Umar Ata Bandial, with the former claiming he had “spoken to the DG-C of ISI and had been assured that no official from ISI will approach the judges of the IHC.”

The letter complained that “interference on the part of intelligence operatives” continued even after the IHC CJ’s assurance.

The letter also referred to the alleged abduction of an IHC judge’s brother-in-law by armed men who claimed to be ISI operatives. It claimed the victim was released after 24 hours during which he was “administered electric shocks” and “forced to record a video” making false allegations, apparently against the judge. “Subsequently, a complaint was filed against the judge of IHC before the SJC, accompanied by an orchestrated media campaign to bring pressure to bear upon the judge to resign,” it claimed.

Per the letter, in May 2023, an IHC inspection judge reported to the chief justice that district court judges were being intimidated and crackers were thrown into the house of one additional district and sessions judge. It said the judge confirmed the claims at the IHC after which he was “made officer on special duty and transferred to IHC, before being sent back to Punjab as he was a judicial officer on deputation.”

The fourth instance referred to by the letter is an IHC judge allegedly finding, during routine maintenance, that his official residence had been bugged with spy cameras concealed in his drawing room and bedroom. It claimed the equipment stored “private videos of the judge and his family members,” adding the matter was brought to the attention of the IHC chief justice. “There has been no determination of who installed the equipment and who is to be held accountable,” it said.

The letter stated that copies of letters written to the IHC CJ on May 10, 2023 and Feb 12, 2024 are attached with it. It further alleges ISI officials’ efforts to pressure IHC judges and probe into the tax records of at least one judge “to seek a certain outcome.”

The judges have requested a judicial convention to discuss the alleged interference of intelligence officials “that undermines independence of the judiciary.” Such a convention, it states, would help the Supreme Court to determine a course of action that judges could take “when they find themselves at the receiving end.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment