Islamabad judges report mysterious mailings, prompting immediate probe

ISLAMABAD/ RAWALPINDI  -  In an unusual development, all eight judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) including Chief Justice Aamer Farooq Tuesday received suspected anthrax-laced letters raising security alarms within the judicial community.

During the hearing of cipher case, the IHC Chief Justice also confirmed the incident saying that all judges received the letters, which were sent by a woman. The eight letters containing suspicious powder and threats in writing delivered to judges of the IHC included the six judges who complained Supreme Judicial Council about the interference of agencies under the executive.

After receiving the letter, the high court administration ordered to file an FIR of the incident under the provisions of terrorism. According to judicial sources, when the staff of two judges opened the letters, they discovered a mysterious powder inside the letters. The nature of the powder remains unknown, prompting immediate intervention from law enforcement authorities.

A team of experts from the Islamabad Police immediately reached the IHC to investigate the matter further and examined the contents of the letters and determined the nature of the powder.

The sources said that the letters also contained a threatening sign. The letters were allegedly signed by a woman named Resham the wife of Waqar Hussain. Soon after the incident, the IHC administration summoned the Inspector General of Islamabad police and the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of security to address the security breach.

The federal police initiated a thorough investigation into the matter to ascertain the origins of the letters and identify any potential threats to the safety of the judges. It said that forensic experts are examining the sus­picious powder to analyse it and provide insights into its composition.

The sources said that when the court staff opened the let­ter, they found a powder inside it and their eyes started burning. The affected official immediate­ly used a sanitizer and washed his hands, the source added.

This development occurred in the wake of a letter written by six judges of the IHC to the Su­preme Judicial Council (SJC), al­leging interference in judiciary matters, sparking controversy. Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahan­giri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz had signed the letter, which was dat­ed March 25.

The Counter Terrorism De­partment (CTD) of Islamabad Capital Police booked a woman under various sections including 7 Anti Terrorism Act for sending Chief Justice and seven other judges of Islamabad High Court the suspected anthrax-laced let­ters with threatening messag­es and began investigation, in­formed sources on Tuesday. The First Information Report (FIR) was chalked out by the CTD on complaint of Qadeer Ahmed, a duty clerk bailiff in IHC, against a woman namely Resham Kha­toon wife of Waqar Hussain, they said. According to contents of the FIR, the complainant told police he is serving as duty clerk (bailiff) in R&I branch of Islam­abad High Court. He said he had distributed the post received on April 1 with help of Naib Qasid Ikram Ullah on April 2, 2024. He added some 8 letters sent in name of judges were received to their PS. “All these letters were sent by a woman namely Resh­am Khatoon without mention­ing her address,” he said add­ing that he had received a phone call made by Qamar Khurshid who told him the letters he had received are laced with suspi­cious chemical powder. He said he immediately alerted the PS of all the judges to not open the letters and the local police have been alerted. He asked the po­lice to register case against the woman Resham Khatoon and other unknown accomplices on charges of spreading terror and attempting to influence on ver­dicts of judges. Following the alert by court staffers, a team of investigators of CTD Police Station rushed to IHC building from where they seized the let­ters laced with chemical pow­der. He said that the unknown sender had criticised the justice system and used English word Bacilus Anthracis and a specific sketch, ”skull and cross bones” to terrorise the judges. The let­ters were sent to Forenic Ex­periment and a case was lodged against the woman and her un­known accomplices. Meanwhile, DIG Operations Islamabad Syed Shehzad Nadim Bukhari has confirmed registration of FIR against accused for their in­volvement in threatening judges of apex courts. He said that CTD Islamabad has started making efforts to arrest the accused.

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