A general view of Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File
A general view of Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File
  • SHCBA says interference “tantamount attacking judicial system”.
  • Lahore Bar Association seeks action against those involved.
  • PTI leader Hamid Khan says “letter is very important”.

Bar associations of Sindh, Lahore, Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as senior lawyers Wednesday demanded a probe into the letter — written to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) by six Islamabad High Court judges — about the alleged interference of spy agencies in the judiciary.

The Sindh High Court Bar Association, in an emergency meeting today, reviewed the letter written by the IHC judges. 

In a statement, the SHCBA has demanded the formation of a three-member judicial commission — comprising Supreme Court judges — to investigate the letter.

Expressing concern over the “interference”, the SHCBA stated: “Interference in the affairs of the judiciary is tantamount to attacking the judicial system.”

The lawyer’s body also lauded the IHC judges for exposing the interference, terming it a commendable act.

Islamabad Bar condemns interference

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court Bar Association also expressed concern, stating that it fully believes in the independence and autonomy of the judiciary as the main feature of the Constitution.

“Public confidence in the justice system is linked to the independence and autonomy of the judiciary,” the bar said, adding that a question mark on the judiciary harms the justice system and society.

The body, in its statement, said it stands with the principles of the rule of law, independence of judiciary and autonomy.

The bar demanded assurance that the judges should be able to perform their duty while adhering to the constitutional principle of an independent and autonomous judiciary.

The bar “strongly” condemned the interference by any institution in the affairs of another institution

The Islamabad High Court Bar Association upholds the rule of law, the supremacy of the Constitution and an independent and autonomous judiciary in the country, it added, demanding Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa to conduct an inquiry and take action against those involved in the matter.

The bar said it will not hesitate to launch a movement for the sake of judiciary’s independence.

Lahore Bar Association seeks action against perpetrators

The Lahore Bar Association also condemned the interference and influence in the judiciary’s decisions, as pointed out in the letter of the IHC judges.

“Action should be taken against those who violate the constitution and law,” it said, urging the chief justice to provide full protection to the judges in the high courts and subordinate courts.

“We hope that the chief justice of Pakistan will make it possible for the judges appointed in the high and subordinate courts to provide justice according to the law without fear or danger,” the statement by LBA read.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council has conveyed its reservations and concern regarding the letter, offering to play a role in protecting the rule of law and Constitution in the country

“Interference in judicial matters is condemnable,” its statement read.

‘Letter is very important’: Hamid Khan

When commenting on the matter, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Hamid Khan said that the six judges did a great job, as judgments are interfered with.

“This letter is very important, it should be followed up regularly,” he said, in conversation with the media at the Lahore High Court Bar.

The lawyer demanded the CJP to form a judicial commission on the matter.

“The contents of the letter should be inquired into and those responsible should be punished,” he said.

CJP should probe letter ‘as soon as possible’

Legal expert Ashtar Ausaf also opined that the chief justice investigate the letter “as soon as possible”.

“The sooner the investigation, the better,” he said, adding that the probe into these matters should be done within the judiciary.

“If the judiciary does not investigate on its own, then the government should do it,” he maintained.

Letter by IHC judges

The letter, written a day earlier on Tuesday, urged the council to convene a judicial convention over the alleged interference of members of the executive, including operatives of intelligence agencies, in judicial affairs.

The IHC judges — who wrote the letter to the SJC — include Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Fafat Imtiaz.

Seeking guidance from the council on “interference” of the spy agencies in courts’ affairs, the judges wrote: “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 development came days after the top court declared the removal of former IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui illegal, directing that he may now be considered as a retired judge.

The IHC judges, in their letter, noted that the code of conduct for judges prescribed by SJC provides no guidance on how they “must react to and or report incidents that are tantamount to intimidation and interfere with judicial independence”.

The judges further said that 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” to meddle in judicial affairs.

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