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Pakistan: Islamabad HC judges allege ISI interference in judiciary

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NEW DELHI: A major backdoor clash between the judiciary and Pakistan’s intelligence agency has come out into the open as the Islamabad high court has sought action directed at Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) “interference” in judicial matters.
The high court has urged the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to convene a judicial convention over the ISI’s alleged interference.
All seven Islamabad high court judges, barring chief judge Amer Farooq, wrote to the Supreme Judicial Council and all Supreme Court judges to draw their attention towards attempts of senior ISI officials to pressure judges and influence judicial proceedings.
In a letter to the SJC, six judges of the IHC–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–sought guidance from the council on the “interference” of the spy agencies in courts’ affairs, reported news agency ANI quoting Geo News.
“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 the 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 letter read.
The development comes days after the top court declared the removal of former Islamabad high court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui illegal and directed authorities to consider Siddiqui as a retired judge.
“This matter has arisen in the aftermath of the judgment dated 22.03.2024 rendered by the Supreme Court in the matter of Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui vs. Federation of Pakistan (C.P. No. 76 of 2018), in which it has been declared that Justice Siddiqui, who was the senior puisne judge of Islamabad High Court (“IHC”), was wrongfully removed on the basis of a report of the Supreme Judicial Council (“SJC”) dated 11.10.2018, and would be deemed to have retired as a judge of the IHC,” it read.
“Justice Siddiqui had been removed after he had publicly alleged that operatives of the Inter-Services Intelligence (“ISI”), led by Major General Faiz Hameed (DG-C of ISI), were determining the constitution of benches at IHC and interfering with proceedings of the Accountability Court Islamabad,” the letter added.
The court noted that the Supreme Judicial Council proceeded against Justice Siddiqui on the “assumption that the truth or falseness of the allegations levelled” by the former judge was “irrelevant”.
The Islamabad high court judges, in their letter, also noted that the code of conduct for judges prescribed by SJC does not guide on how they “must react to and/or report incidents that are tantamount to intimidation and interfere with judicial independence“.
The judges 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 interfere in judicial affairs.

(With ANI inputs)

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