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IHC full court decides to give ‘institutional response’ to meddling

A full court meeting of IHC “unanimously decided” to give an “institutional response” to any meddling in court affairs

By Awais Yousufzai
April 24, 2024
A view of the Islamabad High Court building. — The News/File
A view of the Islamabad High Court building. — The News/File

ISLAMABAD: In a major development, a full court meeting of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday “unanimously decided” to give an “institutional response” to any meddling in the court affairs, well-placed sources said.

The IHC full court meeting was held on Tuesday 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 spy agencies in judicial affairs.

According to the inside story of the full court meeting, all the judges unanimously suggested giving an “institutional response” to meddling in the judicial affairs, the sources revealed.

A draft comprising the proposals would be prepared and submitted to the Supreme Court Wednesday, the sources added. The top court had sought the suggestions in this regard till April 25.

Meanwhile, the IHC registrar’s office issued a declaration, saying that the full court meeting was held with the CJ Farooq in the chair. All the judges of the high court attended the meeting. A unanimous stance of the IHC would be submitted before the apex court in the suo moto case, it added.

Last month, six judges of the IHC — comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, 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 had initiated suo motu proceeding on the letter and sought a proposal from the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), 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.

In response to the top court’s order, the IHC registrar’s office sought suggestion from the judges to counter the alleged meddling of intelligence agencies in the court affairs.