Call for commission to look into ex-judge’s allegations
ISLAMABAD: The All Pakistan Lawyers Convention on Assault on Judiciary and Media called for formation of an independent and high-level commission to look into the allegations levelled by former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in which he highlighted the role of intelligence agencies in influencing judicial matters.
In his reply to the July 31, 2018 show cause notice by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which was also read out before a five-judge Supreme Court judge, Justice Siddiqui had openly named Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and then DG-C Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for his visits to the former judge to allegedly interfere in the affairs of the judiciary and to manipulate the formation of benches of the high court.
Meanwhile, a separate convention by All Punjab Lawyers Representative Session, which was presided over by Chaudhry Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan, a member of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), also adopted a resolution rejecting the April 26 Supreme Court majority judgment in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case and stated that the verdict had virtually undermined the importance of the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 in holding the judges accountable.
The convention also resolved to file applications, review petitions, petitions or other legal actions, available under the law, before the Supreme Court to challenge the majority judgment and stated that it was beyond comprehension that the April 26 judgment came without taking into consideration a report prepared by the Federal Board of Revenue on three London properties owned by the wife and children of Justice Isa.
It said they believe in the free press but do not approve yellow journalism and, therefore, all those who compromise the very sovereignty and security of the country allegedly at the behest of foreign masters should be held accountable.
Meanwhile, the lawyers’ convention was held at a packed-to-capacity Asma Jehangir Auditorium under the auspices of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), in partnership with the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the South Asian Free Media Association.
Participated by almost all representatives of different bar councils and bar associations, the convention was addressed by SCBA president Latif Afridi, PBC vice chairman Khushdil Khan, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, PML-N Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, PFUJ secretary Nasir Zaidi, Shahzada Zulfikar, Hamid Mir, Syed Talat Hussain, Moneza Jehangir, Ambar Shamsi, Inqilabi Party chairman Manzoor Gillani, advocates Hina Jillani, Syed Amjad Shah, Athar Majeed Kanju, Abid Saqi and Ahmed Shehzad Farooq Rana, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Afrasiab Khattak and Shireen Rehman.
A declaration adopted at the end of the convention asks for ensuring prompt release of all missing persons and bringing them within the purview of law, pay reparations to the aggrieved families and bring the abductors to justice.
The declaration also asked the judiciary to rise to the occasion, guard its independence by shunning external pressures, rationalize suo motu powers without overlapping the functions of the civilian executive, play a pro-active role in safeguarding the fundamental rights of the people, missing persons and dissenting voices in particular.
The declaration also asked for resetting the civil-military, executive-judiciary and media-military relations in accordance with the imperatives of the Constitution and ending all interference by the military and its agencies in the civilian affairs.
It said that all institutions of the state must strictly adhere to their constitutional mandate and stop interfering in the businesses of other state institutions and that the elected governments must be obeyed within the prescribed legal framework. Likewise, the interference in the judicial functions, manipulation of juridical processes, vilification of valiant judges by the government and the powers that be must be stopped forthwith and those involved in such detestable activities must be brought to book.