Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar disclosed on Thursday that the federal government would present a letter from six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging interference in judicial affairs by the country’s intelligence agencies before the federal cabinet. This presentation aims to initiate the formation of an inquiry commission to investigate the matter.

Tarar made this announcement during a press conference held in Islamabad following a significant meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa earlier in the day.

UNPRECEDENTED MEETING RAISES EYEBROWS

The meeting between PM Shehbaz and CJP Isa, which included Tarar and Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan, stirred attention due to its unusual nature. Legal experts noted the distinction from past interactions between former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former CJP Saqib Nisar during their respective tenures.

JUDGES LETTER

CJP ISA CALLS FOR FULL COURT MEETING

Following the meeting, CJP Isa summoned a second full court meeting within two days, indicating the gravity of the situation. The developments followed a recent full court meeting at the apex court to address allegations made by six IHC judges regarding interference in judicial affairs by intelligence agencies.

FOCUS ON FORMAL INQUIRY

Although yesterday’s full court sitting contemplated initiating suo motu proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in response to the judges’ letter, no conclusive decision was reached. AGP Awan described the situation as “very alarming” and stressed the need for a thorough investigation.

GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE AND COMMITMENT TO JUDICIARY’S INDEPENDENCE

In his address, Tarar highlighted the contents of the judges’ letter, noting that most allegations pertained to the tenure of the former Chief Justice of Pakistan. He emphasized PM Shehbaz’s commitment to prioritize the issue and ensure an impartial investigation.

FORMATION OF INQUIRY COMMISSION

Tarar revealed plans to submit the judges’ letter to Friday’s federal cabinet session, with the aim of appointing a neutral, non-partisan, retired legal figure to lead an inquiry commission. The commission will investigate the allegations in accordance with the law.

SUPPORT FROM LEGAL FRATERNITY

Meanwhile, the legal fraternity, represented by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), emphasized the urgency of addressing the judges’ concerns. PBC Chairman Farooq H. Naek scheduled a meeting on April 5 to discuss the matter further, underscoring the significance of the judges’ letter and its implications for judicial independence.

CALLS FOR JUDICIAL CONVENTION

In their letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), the six IHC judges highlighted instances of interference and intimidation by intelligence agencies, calling for a judicial convention to address these concerns. They emphasized the need for clear protocols to safeguard judicial independence in the face of external pressures.

The unfolding developments underscore the critical need for a transparent investigation to uphold the integrity of Pakistan’s judiciary and ensure the independence of its institutions.

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