Advertisment

Pakistan's top judge says interference of executive in judicial affairs intolerable, Govt to probe judges’ allegations

author-image
NewsDrum Desk
New Update

Islamabad, Mar 28 (PTI) Pakistan's Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa Thursday said that “interference" by the executive in the affairs and judicial workings of judges will not be tolerated as the government announced a formal probe into the explosive allegations by the high court judges about the powerful intelligence agencies meddling in their affairs.

Advertisment

The development came following a crucial meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Justice Isa, who met to tackle the explosive situation in the wake of the letter by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging interference by intelligence sleuths in their functioning.

Chief Justice Isa in his meeting with Prime Minister Sharif declared that the interference in the judiciary by the executive would not be tolerated, according to a statement issued by the Supreme Court on Thursday evening.

"The CJP clearly stated that interference by the Executive in the affairs and judicial workings of Judges will not be tolerated and under no circumstances can independence of the judiciary be allowed to be compromised,” it read.

Advertisment

He and the Senior Puisne Judge (Mansoor Ali Shah, who was also in the meeting) stated that independence of judiciary is a foundational pillar that upholds the rule of law and a strong democracy.

"During the meeting a proposal was made to constitute an Inquiry Commission under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017 which should be headed by a retired Judge of impeccable integrity to inquire into the matter,” the statement said.

The Prime Minister said that a meeting of the cabinet will be called to seek their approval for the constitution of the said Commission. He fully endorsed the views expressed by the chief justice and Senior Puisne Judge and further assured them that he will be taking other appropriate measures to ensure an independent judiciary, including issuance of directions to the relevant departments, and initiating legislation in accordance with the judgment of the apex court the Faizabad Dharna judgment of 2017.

Advertisment

The apex court also said that the CJP received a letter dated 25 March 2024 from six judges of the Islamabad High Court on 26 March 2024.

Considering the gravity of the allegations levelled in the said letter, the CJP called a meeting on the same day with the Chief Justice and all the Judges of the Islamabad High Court at his residence. The concerns of all the Judges were heard individually in a meeting that lasted for over 2 and a half hours.

The following day, 27 March 2024, the CJP met with the Attorney-General Mansoor Awan and the Law Minister Azam Tarar, and thereafter the CJP along with the Senior Puisne Judge met with the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the senior most member of the Pakistan Bar Council present in Islamabad.

Advertisment

A Full Court Meeting of all the Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan was called under the chairmanship of the CJP the same day (March 27), which deliberated over the issues raised in the letter sent by the six Judges of the Islamabad High Court.

A consensus was developed amongst the majority of the members of the Full Court that in view of the gravity of the situation, the CJP may hold a meeting with the Prime Minister on the issues raised in the said letter and the meeting was adjourned.

After the meeting with the Prime Minister, the top judge again called a Full Court meeting and briefed the Judges on what had transpired at the meeting with the premier.

Advertisment

Earlier, the Prime Minister, accompanied by the Law Minister and Attorney-General, met with the CJP, Senior Puisne Judge and Registrar of the Supreme Court at the Supreme Court at 2 pm today. The meeting lasted for about an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party rejected the decision for a commission headed by a retired judge to probe the allegations by the judges. “We reject it and demand that the sitting judges should be appointed to head the commission and the government should stay away from this issue,” PTI chief Gohar Khan said. Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar accompanied by Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan addressed a press conference, saying that Sharif discussed in detail with the chief justice the thorny issue and they agreed to set up a probe commission, headed by a former judge, to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.

Tarar said Sharif had summoned a meeting of the Cabinet on Friday to discuss the issue. “The Cabinet will agree on the name of a former judge of good repute to head the commission to probe the matter and prepare a report,” he said.

Advertisment

He also assured that the matter would be properly investigated and steps would be taken to stop such incidents of interference in future.

Tarar also said that Sharif has assured the chief justice that the government would take the matter to its logical conclusion. “He (the prime minister) said point blank in the meeting that there will be no compromise on the independence of the judiciary,” Tarar quoted Sharif as saying.

Earlier, Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Babar Sattar, Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Saman Rafat Imtiaz, in a stunning move, addressed the letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for help to deal with the rising incidents of meddling in the affairs of the judiciary.

The letter went on to highlight the interference of executive and agencies in judicial matters, including the kidnapping and torture of the brother-in-law of a high court judge to put pressure on the judge regarding a case, demanding the SJC for the initiation of a judicial convention against such interference in the judicial affairs.

The decision to probe the matter came after different lawyers' bodies and political parties demanded action. PTI SH NPK ZH AKJ ZH ZH

Advertisment
Subscribe