Executive meddling in judiciary won’t be tolerated, CJP tells PM

In Local
March 28, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

In a resolute stand against encroachments on judicial independence, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Thursday reaffirmed the sanctity of the judiciary, declaring that under no circumstances would the autonomy of judges be compromised.

His remarks came during a crucial meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the Supreme Court earlier today, attended by Federal Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan.

The meeting, convened in the wake of startling revelations by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding alleged interference by intelligence agencies in judicial proceedings, marked a pivotal moment in the ongoing saga surrounding judicial integrity.

Just days ago, the aforementioned judges penned an open letter, detailing coercive tactics employed by intelligence agencies to influence court proceedings.

Responding swiftly to the gravity of the situation, CJP Qazi Faez Isa called for a series of high-level consultations, culminating in today’s meeting with the prime minister. A subsequent press release from the apex court outlined the meticulous deliberations undertaken in response to the IHC judges’ letter.

Also read: Commission to probe ‘letter controversy’ after PM-CJP meeting

During the meeting, CJP Isa emphasised the pivotal role of an independent judiciary in upholding the rule of law and fortifying democracy. He unequivocally stated that any executive interference in the affairs and workings of judges would not be tolerated, highlighting the indispensable nature of judicial autonomy.

In a significant development, a proposal was tabled to constitute an inquiry commission under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017, to delve into the allegations of interference. The commission, to be headed by a retired Judge of unblemished integrity, aims to unravel the complexities surrounding the issue and safeguard judicial independence.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in response, pledged his full support for the initiative, vowing to convene a meeting of the federal cabinet to seek approval for the commission’s formation. He echoed the sentiments expressed by CJP Isa, affirming his commitment to upholding an independent judiciary and undertaking necessary measures to safeguard its autonomy.

Following the meeting, CJP Isa reconvened a full court meeting to apprise the judges of the developments. The swift and decisive actions taken by the judiciary and the executive have underscored the seriousness with which the issue of judicial independence is being addressed.

In the aftermath of the revelations, bar associations across the country rallied behind the judges, sounding the alarm over the perceived threat to judicial independence. The collective response reflects a unified front in defence of the judiciary’s autonomy amidst a charged political climate, where recent court rulings have come under intense scrutiny.

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