IHC judges’ letter: Over 300 lawyers call on SC to hear matter under Article 184(3)

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ISLAMABAD: Over 300 lawyers, belonging to different bar associations, urged the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan to hear Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges allegations of interference by intelligence agencies in judicial functions under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, ARY News reported on Sunday.

Six serving judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) penned a letter to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), urging it to summon a judicial convention to review matter of “interference of intelligence agencies with judicial functions”.

IHC top judges – including Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Baqir Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Salman Rafat Imtiaz – penned the letter to SJC in the aftermath of Supreme Court s March 22 judgement on Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui s dismissal case.

In the letter, the top judges sought 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”.

Later, the federal cabinet approved the constitution of an inquiry commission headed by former CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani to probe the allegations and decide whether these are true or otherwise.

Read More: IHC judges letter: Tassaduq Hussain Jillani to head probe commission

Today, more than 300 lawyers from — including Imaan Zainab Mazari, Salman Akram Raja, Taimur Malik and the son of the former CJP Tassaduq Jillani tasked with the probe, Saqib Jillani — issued a public statement.

The lawyers lauded the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges “courageous” move to write a letter on spy agencies alleged interference in judiciary s affairs.

“We endorse the resolutions passed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, the Islamabad Bar Association, the Sindh High Court Bar Association, the Pakistan Bar Council, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council and the Balochistan Bar Council to the extent that they resolve to uphold the principle of independence of judiciary, express solidarity with the six Judges of the Islamabad High Court, commend their courageous action and demand appropriate action to uphold such principles,” the lawyers said in the letter.

The statement pointed out that that former IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also raised similar allegations and was consequently, unceremoniously removed from office, without following due process. “The allegations leveled by the aforesaid are also yet to be proven or disproven through an impartial inquiry into the matter as requested by him.”

It also urged the Pakistan Bar Council as well as all bar associations to call a convention of lawyers across Pakistan on an urgent basis to decide on a collective course of action to strengthen the independence of judiciary.

“We further call upon the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take cognisance of the matter in its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution as this issue eminently relates to public interest and to the enforcement of fundamental rights,” the statement added.

The lawyers emphasised that the matter should be dealt with transparently and in the public eye as it is the public confidence in the independence of judiciary which needs to be restored.

In the interests of transparency and to ensure that the matter may not be politicised, the joint statement called upon the apex court to constitute a bench comprising of all available judges to hear the matter and for the proceedings to be telecast live for public consumption.

 

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