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Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif says govt to probe 'suspicious powder' laced threat letters to judges

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Islamabad, Apr 4 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the government will launch a probe into threat letters laced with a “suspicious powder” received by the judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts in Islamabad and Lahore.

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Eight judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) and three judges of Lahore High Court received threatening letters with white powder suspected to be anthrax.

“The letters that were sent to various judges yesterday, and the reports that have emerged about a suspicious powder in them […] So I think that we should show full responsibility on this and not let any kind of politics near this [matter],” Dawn News quoted the prime minister as saying during a cabinet meeting here.

“The government of Pakistan, with a sense of responsibility, will investigate this,” Sharif said.

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The letters, delivered to all the judges in white envelopes sealed with cello tape, had their names and the court's address written over them.

The letters carried a threatening sign and accused the judges of being responsible for problems faced by the people of Pakistan, the report said.

The staff of two judges, who had opened the envelopes and found a suspicious powder inside, reported the matter to the IHC registrar who summoned the police officials deputed for security of the court.

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A case has been registered and according to the FIR, the letters were issued with an incomplete address of the sender.

The letters while giving reference to Tehreek-i-Namoos Pakistan criticised the justice system, with a particular photo and English word “Bacillus Anthracis” included for the threat, the FIR said.

Similar letters arrived in the Supreme Court and the Lahore High Court (LHC) the next day, prompting the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) to register two cases in Islamabad and Lahore.

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The letters in the top court were sent to Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Aminuddin.

The letters sent by an unknown group threatened the judges of the Supreme Court for “rescuing evil”. Suspicious powder was found inside the envelopes and sent to the forensic lab.

The personal staff of the judges who received the threat found the letters in the daily mail received at the high court, said an official.

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The official said the staff of all judges at the LHC was already alert in the wake of letters sent to the IHC judges.

Earlier on Thursday, the Islamabad Police said it was “conducting checks at the entry routes of the higher courts and the high-security zone”.

In a post on X, the police urged citizens to carry their identification documents.

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The development comes more than a week after six IHC judges in a startling letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) members, complained regarding alleged interference by the country’s security apparatus in judicial matters.

Prime Minister Sharif recalled the developments in the matter and noted the Supreme Court's suo motu proceedings about the allegations levelled by the IHC judges about interference in judicial affairs.

“We had fulfilled our responsibility and after that, these changes came,” he said.

Last week, Shehbaz met Chief Justice Isa and the two decided to form an inquiry commission, which was later approved by the federal cabinet.

However, ex-CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani — tasked to head the one-man inquiry commission — recused himself.

At the same time, the top court took suo motu notice of the matter. PTI PY AKJ PY PY

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