Pakistan: 6 High Court Judges Accuse ISI of Interference, Intimidation; Say They Are Being Watched as Targets

The Pakistan government had earlier formed a single-member inquiry commission in the matter. (Image: Reuters/File)

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has formed a seven-member bench to hear the matter after the judges, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court and Chief Justice of Pakistan received threat letters

Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, is under judicial scanner after six judges of the Islamabad High Court accused it of spying on them. The judges have written to the Judicial Commission, alleging that they are being watched as possible targets, and that the agency’s operatives had been intimidating them to seek favourable decisions in political cases.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has now formed a seven-member bench to hear the matter after the six judges, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court and Chief Justice of Pakistan received threat letters. The government had earlier formed a single-member inquiry commission in the matter. But, allegations of bias and a letter by 300 lawyers prompted the Chief Justice of Pakistan to hear the case in the Supreme Court.

What did the judges’ letter say?

According to a report published by news agency Reuters, the letter by the judges, addressed to the Supreme Judicial Council, mentioned as an example that the ISI’s operatives intimidated through “friends and relatives” two of the judges who had declared against taking up a political case related to jailed former prime minister Imran Khan last year.

It said the six judges had brought such cases in their chief’s knowledge and also met the then Chief Justice of Pakistan to “share their concerns regarding efforts of ISI operatives to affect judicial outcomes”. They said the interference continued despite their chief assuring them that he had taken up the matter with the ISI head, who gave his word that there would not be any such interference, the letter said.

Sources said the matter has turned into a hot topic after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supported the judges’ allegations. Khan’s party said, in that case, the decisions made in the jailed leader’s cases should be reversed as the judiciary is under the influence of the army.

The government had formed a single-member inquiry commission under retired chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani from Multan, who is a close associate of former PM Yusuf Raza Gilani, whose family supports the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in all matters. Questions were raised on its formation, saying it will be biased. Following this, 300 lawyers wrote to the Chief Justice of Pakistan demanding that he take note of this and the case must go on in the Supreme Court.

The matter, however, took a turn when all the six judges, Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan received threat letters in their offices. The sender, a woman, claimed that she is from a never-heard-of-before party called Tehreek-e-Namoos-e-Pakistan. The sender threatened that the judges had misled the public and were badmouthing the army. The letters, which had no return address or phone number, also contained a type of powder that was assumed to be poison.

One of the judges took the letter to the police and, soon after that, it was revealed there were seven others following which the police stopped them from being opened. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has now formed a seven-member bench to hear the case.

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