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Friday May 24, 2024

Received no complaint of meddling in judiciary since becoming CJP: Justice Isa

"All incidents [of interference] that were mentioned were before my watch … before I took the oath as CJP," says top judge

By Amin Anwar
April 25, 2024

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Thursday said no high court judge reported to him about any external interference in the matters of judiciary during his time in the office of the country's apex jurist.

“Since I have been chief justice [of the Supreme Court of Pakistan], I have not received a single complaint from any high court judge that there has been any interference in their work,” CJP Isa said while speaking at Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA).

“Now, if there has been any interference in their work it has not been reported to me and all the incidents that were mentioned were before my watch… before I took the oath as the CJP.

“So, this is a thing to bear in mind that interference is not acceptable but at the same time nothing has been reported to me during … my watch.”

He said mention was made of the support that the SHCBA extended to the six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), who had written to me as well. “I thank them on their behalf,” the CJP added.

Last month, six judges of the IHC — comprising 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 a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), seeking its guidance on “interference” of the intelligence agencies in the courts’ affairs.

"We are writing to seek guidance from the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) with regard to the duty of a judge to report and respond to actions on [the] part of members of the executive, including operatives of intelligence agencies, that seek to interfere with [the] discharge of his/her official functions and qualify as intimidation, as well as the duty to report any such actions that come to his/her attention in relation to colleagues and/or members of the courts that the high court supervises," read the latter.

Later, the apex court initiated suo motu proceedings on the letter and sought a proposal from the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), high courts and the federal government in this regard.

“They should suggest what should be the institutional response and mechanism to address the issues like the ones raised in the letter [of IHC judges] and ensure that such issues do not arise in future and, if they do, to fix liability and proceed against those responsible,” read the April 3 order of the apex court.

Taking a strong stance against meddling in court’s affairs by officials of intelligence agencies, a full court meeting of the IHC on Tuesday “unanimously decided” to give an “institutional response” to any external interference, well-placed sources said.

The IHC full court meeting was held with Chief Justice Aamer Farooq in the chair to finalise proposals before submission to the Supreme Court in connection with a matter related to the alleged interference of the personnel of spy agencies in judicial affairs.