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Pak court asks PMO to stop intelligence agencies from interfering in any judicial matters

'The prime minister is responsible and answerable for the actions of intelligence agencies as they come under his command,' said Islamabad High Court.
Last Updated : 29 June 2024, 18:50 IST

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Lahore: A top Pakistani court on Saturday directed the Prime Minister's Office to issue directives to the country's powerful intelligence agencies, including Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), against approaching any judge or member of their staff to obtain favourable verdicts.

The intelligence agencies especially ISI, Military Intelligence (MI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) have been accused by several judges of pressuring them through different means to get desired verdicts, especially in the cases of the former prime minister and founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, his party leaders and supporters.

Almost all -- six of eight judges of the Islamabad High Court -- and a couple of judges of the anti-terrorism courts in Punjab have written to the chief justice of Pakistan and chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC), respectively, drawing their attention towards the intelligence agencies' open interference in judicial matters forcing them to get desired verdicts.

Some of them had complained that their family members were picked up (by intelligence agencies) to put pressure on them (judges).

The Lahore High Court Justice Shahid Karim on Saturday issued written directions to the Prime Minister's Office on the complaint of an ATC judge in the Sargodha district of Punjab against harassment by the personnel of ISI.

"The prime minister is responsible and answerable for the actions of intelligence agencies as they come under his command. Instructions shall go out by the Prime Minister’s Office to all civil or military agencies, including the ISI and IB, regarding strict directions not to approach or contact any judge whether of the superior judiciary or subordinate judiciary or any member of their staff for any purpose in the future," the judge said in his written order. Similar directions have also been issued for the Punjab police.

The court said the inspector general and police chief would be held personally responsible and contempt proceedings would be initiated in case of non-implementation of its order.

The LHC also directed ATC judges across Punjab to "download call-recording applications on their mobile phones to have the record of all such calls (from intelligence agencies) made to influence judicial proceedings." The Sargodha ATC judge was scheduled to hear the cases of some PTI leaders including opposition leader in the National Assembly Omar Ayub when he was told that a senior ISI officer wanted to meet him at his chamber. As the judge refused, several harassment incidents targeted at his family took place in the following days.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said as part of a malicious and well-thought-out plot the mandate-thief government and its handlers are coercing the judiciary into making decisions of their choice.

"The trend of holding judges and their family members hostage and occupying the courts are being used as new tactics to prevent the courts from delivering justice, as such brazen interference in judicial affairs has already been described by six judges of the Islamabad High Court in their letter," he said.

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Published 29 June 2024, 18:50 IST

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