IHC judges’ letter: CJP hints at formation of full court on next hearing

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Wednesday hinted  at formation of a full court on the next hearing of suo motu notice taken on the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges’ allegations of interference by intelligence agencies.

At the outset of hearing which was broadcasted live on television channels, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) directed the attorney general to present the press release issued after the full court meeting.

CJP Isa expressed concerns, remarking, “We may be regressing into the era of Goebbels in terms of propaganda.” He disclosed that he had convened a meeting with high court judges on the same day the letter was received.

The CJP stated that there will be no compromise on the freedom of judiciary. He questioned the absence of lawyers who had urged for suo motu notice over the past four years. He said if someone has other motives, they are free to become the chief justice or bar president.”

Emphasizing zero tolerance for undue pressure, CJP Isa affirmed that an official meeting with the prime minister decided from an administrative point of view, not a judicial one.

In response the attorney general clarified that any perception suggesting that the government was forming its own commission was wrong. He mentioned the recommendation of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani as the commission’s head.

The sou moto was heard by seven-member larger bench headed by CJP Faez Isa, comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Jamal Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Musarrat Hilali and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan.

It is pertinent to mention that six serving judges of Islamabad High Court penned a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), urging it to summon a judicial convention to review the matter of “interference of intelligence agencies with judicial functions”.

The federal government announced to establish an inquiry commission to investigate the issues raised in the letter and former CJP Justice (retired) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was charged with heading the commission.

However, Jillani refused to head the inquiry commission on the IHC judges’ letter, saying that the letter was penned to the Supreme Judicial Council and it did not fall under Article 209.

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