Pakistan Bar Council Demands Impartial Investigation Of Threats To Judges 'Cornered By Agencies'

The apex body of lawyers denounces calls for resignation of Chief Justice of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court's chief justice

Pakistan Bar Council Demands Impartial Investigation Of Threats To Judges 'Cornered By Agencies'

The top body of lawyers in the country on Friday demanded the formation of a judicial commission to hold an "impartial investigation, devoid of any external interference" into the allegations of interference and intimidation levelled by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the country's security agencies.

The lawyers also denounced calls from a certain segment of society which demanded the resignation of the chief justice of Pakistan and the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court.

This was resolved during an emergent meeting of the Pakistan Bar Council in Islamabad on Friday. PBC Vice Chairman Riazat Ali Sahar chaired the meeting.

A statement issued by the council after its meeting said that they considered the letter penned by six judges of the IHC, which accused security agencies of interfering, intimidating and surveilling judges and their family with the objective of manipulating the outcomes of court cases.

The PBC resolved that it holds judges in the highest esteem and that they "epitomize the foundation of our legal system, embodying independence and impartiality, free from political or external pressures, to administer justice untainted by extraneous moral, internal or external influences."

Regarding the letter, PBC said that it signifies a moment of great significance and concern to the independent workings of the judicial system of Pakistan. It added that the judges' raising these concerns implies that they have been "cornered by agencies, leading them to cry for assistance from the highest legal forum in the hierarchy of the judicial system of Pakistan."

"To safeguard the law, constitution, and fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens as envisaged in the Constitution of Pakistan, a comprehensive investigation into these allegations is not only justified but necessary," it said.

"It is resolved that an impartial investigation, devoid of any external interference, is crucial to reveal the truth, for which formation of a judicial commission by the Supreme Court of Pakistan comprising of sitting Judges to settle issues raised by six judges is the need of the hour."

Acknowledging that the top court had taken suo moto notice on the matter in a week when judges at three courts received threatening letters, the PBC urged the top court to decide the suo moto case as soon as possible.

The PBC also condemned the demand for the resignation of two senior judges, Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, made by lawyers sympathetic to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). 

"Demand tantamount to strengthening hands of those people who want division in the judiciary of Pakistan," the PBC resolved.

"Calling for their resignation would not only undermine the judiciary but also fail to resolve the existing issues. Instead, it would worsen the situation, leaving the country without a guiding figure to navigate through these critical challenges."

The social media campaign against these judges was also denounced.

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