Top Court Urged To Form Judicial Commission To Probe Letter By IHC Judges

The petition filed by Aitzaz Ahsan wants a three-member commission to ascertain who was involved and to dismiss these individuals from service without any retirement benefits

Top Court Urged To Form Judicial Commission To Probe Letter By IHC Judges

Senior lawyer and politician Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan on Tuesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding the court constitute a three-member judicial commission to probe the letter written by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging interference, intimidation, and surveillance of the judiciary by security agencies.

This is the third such petition to be filed in the top court since the letter emerged on the public scene last week. Since then, the federal government formed a one-man commission on the subject. The commission, however, collapsed before it began after the head of the commission, former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, refused to head it after reviewing the terms of reference. Subsequently, the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the matter on Monday. Ahsan's petition is the first one on the matter to be filed after the suo moto.

Ahsan has listed the law and defence ministries as respondents in his petition. 

The petition requested the top court to declare that the letter by IHC judges and Justice (retired) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui's allegations constitute evidence that the top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and its operatives have been involved in unlawful attempts to influence judicial decisions.

The top court has been further requested to declare that ISI's interference in the workings of IHC and the district judiciary in Islamabad requires immediate,
further judicial inquiry and action. 

The petition further requested the top court to declare that any and all such actions are clearly unlawful and unconstitutional and pose a serious threat to the rule of law and independence of the judiciary in the country. 

Ahsan further requested the Supreme Court establish a three-member commission comprising sitting judges to determine which ISI officers, operatives, or other individuals, if any, are or were involved in such unlawful acts and report its findings to the Supreme Court.

The top court was asked to direct the federal government to terminate from service all such individuals who the commission determines were involved in such unlawful acts without paying them any retirement or other benefits from the national exchequer, and in the case of individuals who have already retired, to direct that no retirement or other benefits shall be paid to them.

The petition asked the top court to declare that any government servant, including any serving army officer who seeks to influence judicial proceedings or judges, shall be liable to be terminated from service forthwith without any retirement or other benefits being payable to such individual from the national exchequer. 

The petition, moreover, prayed that the top court directs the federal government to make appropriate rules to police such behaviour and submit them to the court.

Ahsan urged the top court to direct the federal government to ensure that the prime minister, the Chief of Army Staff and the DG-C at the ISI issue forthwith a general, written order to all individuals who report to them or who function under their command, directing them to disregard any order or instruction from any source which requires them to undertake any act seeking to influence pending judicial proceedings or judges and warning them of the consequences of failing to do so.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain