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Tuesday April 23, 2024

IHC CJ among eight judges receive 'threatening letters containing suspected anthrax powder'

Staffer of judge felt “irritation in eyes” after accidentally exposing to "powdery substance" in letter, sources say

By Awais Yousafzai
April 02, 2024
A view of the Islamabad High Court building. — Geo News/File
A view of the Islamabad High Court building. — Geo News/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) chief justice and seven judges have received "suspected anthrax-laced letters" with "threatening messages" just a day after the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice over the allegations of the high court jurists against intelligence spy agencies.

A police team comprising experts launched a thorough probe to collect facts and ascertain powdery substance after the eight IHC judges received “suspicious letters containing suspected anthrax powder along with a threatening message”, Geo News reported citing sources.

The letter was sent by a woman namely Resham without mentioning her address, the sources said.

They added that a staffer of a judge accidentally dropped the envelope containing the suspicious powdery substance and later he felt extreme irritation in eyes and burns on skin around his lips.

Following the incident, Islamabad Inspector General (IG) and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) police have been summoned to the Islamabad High Court. All suspicious letters have been handed over the police for further investigation.

Subsequently, a case was lodged at the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Police Station in the federal capital over complaint of a branch clerk Qadir Ahmed who received and dispatched the post.

The development came just a day after the Supreme Court took suo motu notice and formed a seven-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa to hear the matter after the six IHC judges blamed spy agencies for meddling in judicial affairs.

The seven-member bench will hold the maiden hearing on the issue tomorrow (Wednesday).

Apart from the CJP the bench also comprises Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mussarat Hilali, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan.

The explosive letter which surfaced last week triggered a crisis and the Supreme Court led by CJP Isa has been under pressure to hear the matter under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Just a day earlier, over 300 lawyers belonging to different bar associations across the country lauded the judges’ and called upon the apex court to hear the matter under its suo motu jurisdictions.

The IHC judges — Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz — wrote the letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), urging the body to convene a judicial convention over the alleged interference of intelligence agencies in judicial affairs.