Govt To Decide Today On Inquiry Commission To Probe Letter By IHC Judges

Federal law minister says terms of references for the commission will be finalised after consulting the attorney general

Govt To Decide Today On Inquiry Commission To Probe Letter By IHC Judges

The government has expressed its willingness to consider a request from the judiciary to form an inquiry commission under the relevant law to investigate the allegations of interference, intimidation, and surveillance by certain state institutions levelled by six judges of the Islamabad High Court.

The decision came after a detailed meeting between Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the Supreme Court the other day. Senior Pusine Judge Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and the Supreme Court registrar were present from the judiciary's side, while Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar and Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan were present from the government's side.

In a news conference late Thursday, Tarar said that the federal government has decided to present the letter by the judges and the demand by the Chief Justice of Pakistan for an independent inquiry commission led by a retired but reputable judge to the federal cabinet.

He said the commission's terms of reference (TORs) would be finalised after consultations with the attorney general.

Sitting alongside Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan, Tarar said that in the wake of the letter and the concerns raised by the top court, it is the government's duty to investigate this matter.

Providing details of the hour-and-a-half-long meeting between the CJP Isa and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, he said issues pertaining to important national issues, including the economy and the judges' letter, were discussed.

Tarar added that they will leave it to the judiciary to determine whether the letter constitutes misconduct on the part of the judges.

Regarding the possible ToRs for the commission, Tarar suggested that they would cover a probe into the allegations in the letter and certain past cases.

Expressing his opinion, Tarar said that it is important to not suppress such matters when they arise.

While addressing concerns about the probe's findings being made public, he said that the commissions they formed had brought all matters before the public.

When asked who would head the commission, the federal law minister said a senior retired judge would be preferred. 

The prime minister is determined that the country should run according to the Constitution, he asserted, adding that the prime minister has stated that no compromise would be accepted on the freedom and independence of the judiciary. He said that the PM has also stated that there should be no interferences in institutions and that every institution should respect the other and work within their respective domains.

Tarar said the federal government has taken up the matter seriously and with good intentions.