IHC seeks suggestions from judges


ISLAMABAD:

High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on Friday sought suggestions from all other high court judges about convening a full court over a letter written by six IHC jurists to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) alleging that the country’s intelligence agencies were “interfering” in judicial matters.

In line with the Supreme Court’s directions, the IHC chief justice sought suggestions from the judges by April 22 (Monday).

Sources said suggestions had also been sought from the Islamabad East and West district and sessions judges.

They added that a copy of the apex court’s order had also been sent to the judges.

After receiving the judges’ suggestions, it will be decided whether or not a full court should be convened on the matter.

Last month, six IHC judges — Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Babar Sattar, Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Saman Rafat Imtiaz — penned a letter to the SJC led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, expressing concerns about the “interference” of intelligence agencies in the affairs of the courts.

“We, therefore, request that a judicial convention be called to consider the matter of interference of intelligence operatives with judicial functions and/or intimidation of judges in a manner that undermines the independence of the judiciary.”

The open letter, a copy which had been sent to all SC judges, noted that such a convention might provide further information as to whether or not jurists of other high courts have had similar experiences.

“Such institutional consultation might then assist the Supreme Court to consider how best to protect independence of the judiciary, put in place a mechanism to affix liability for those who undermine such independence and clarify for the benefit of individual judges the course of action they must take when they find themselves at the receiving end of interference and/or intimidation by members of the executive.”

The move came just days after the ruling by the apex court, which deemed the removal of former IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as illegal, decreeing his status as that of a retired judge.

The verdict highlighted the SJC’s approach towards Justice Siddiqui’s case, indicating that the council had proceeded under the assumption that the veracity of the allegations raised by the former judge was irrelevant.

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