Feb 8 polls results melted judges’ hearts towards Imran?



The results of the February 8 general elections have profound implications on the superior courts as PTI founding chairman and former premier Imran Khan has been successful in acquiring relief in important cases.

Soon after the general polls, Islamabad High Court judges urged Chief Justice Aamer Farooq to convene a full court meeting to discuss the prevailing situation wherein judicial proceedings were being “manipulated” by intelligence agencies in politically high-profile cases.

However, the IHC CJ did not summon the full court. Subsequently, six IHC judges were compelled to write a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) seeking guidance in the existing situation.

Soon after the letter came to the surface, a malicious online campaign was started against IHC judges, especially Justice Babar Sattar.

However, all the tactics used against these judges did not work as they remained firm in making decisions, which are irking the ‘powerful circles’.

In the first week of April, an IHC division bench suspended the accountability court judgment wherein Imran and his wife Bushra Bibi were convicted for 14 years in the Toshakhana (gift repository) reference.

Another division bench of the IHC led by its Chief Justice Farooq has granted bail to both Imran and his wife in the £ 190 million corruption case.

With the intervention of the IHC, standard operating procedures (SOPs) were established in coordination with the Adiala Jail superintendent for the “smooth conduct of meetings” for incarcerated Imran with his lawyers, family members, friends, and colleagues.

The most significant development was witnessed on Tuesday wherein a three-member bench of the IHC endorsed the two judges’ opinion by dismissing a petition seeking Imran’s disqualification for not disclosing his alleged daughter, Tyrian White, in his nomination papers.

For the first time, it has been revealed that the IHC CJ had recused himself from hearing this case in May last year.
The six IHC judges in their letter revealed that the other two judges on the bench, besides the IHC CJ, faced pressure from the state institutions in this matter.

The IHC judges even urged IHC CJ on May 10 last year to initiate contempt proceedings against intelligence officials for their interference in the judicial functions. However, the IHC CJ had shown restraint.

Despite all their efforts, the state institutions were unable to acquire a favourable result in the Tyrian case.
There is a chance that the IHC division bench will conclude its proceedings on Wednesday (today) on Imran’s appeal against the judgment in the cipher case.

Although Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa did not provide any significant relief to Imran, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, suspended the membership of dozens of the PML-N, PPP and other parties’ members, who are notified as MNAs on reserved seats after the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision not to allocate them to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) – a small party in which the PTI, which fielded its candidates as independent ones in the polls, found refuge.

Likewise, the Lahore High Court has overturned some ECP decisions for recounting wherein the PTI-backed MNAs lost their seats.

LHC Judge Justice Shahid Kareem on April 16 allowed the petition and struck down the ECP’s decision to hold a recount in NA-81 Gujranwala wherein Azhar Qayyum Nahra of the PML-N was declared victorious.

The LHC ruled that the ECP could not undo its own decisions as it lacked the power of review.

Imran is also receiving relief from lower courts in criminal cases as well.

A five-judge larger bench of the apex court led by CJP Isa has allowed Imran to participate in judicial proceedings through a video link.

Likewise, PTI President Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has been released from jail after several months of imprisonment. The party’s vice chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is also expected to be released if the IHC accepted Imran and his appeals in cipher case on Wednesday.

On the other hand, the clash between executive and judiciary has intensified.  It is not easy for the ‘powerful circles’ to fight at the same time on two fronts — the judiciary and PTI.

The next two weeks will be significant as to how the ‘powerful circles’ will deal both the PTI and judiciary in the prevailing situation.

After strong resistance from the judiciary, there is a chance that the state institutions will change their policy towards the PTI.

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