PBC calls upon Senate panel to probe allegations levelled by Justice Siddiqui

Says upcoming general elections have become controversial at international level


Hasnaat Malik July 22, 2018
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID / EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Expressing concern over an Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge’s claims regarding the manipulation of courts proceedings by the top spy agency, the Pakistan Bar Council has demanded that a Senate committee probe the allegations.

The PBC Vice Chairman Kamran Murtaza on Saturday said the IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s recent allegations are very serious. “They should be probed through a committee, notified by the President of Pakistan. The committee should only consist of senators,” he added.

Murtaza said the upcoming general elections have become controversial at the international level but institutions are not realising this.  “We being lawyers are more concerned about the reputation of the judiciary. It is very unfortunate that in the prevailing scenario, the courts' reputation has been severely damaged,” he added.

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PBC Executive Member Raheel Kamran Sheikh said Justice Siddiqui’s allegation that he was excluded from a bench because the intelligence agencies wanted to ensure that the sentences of the convicts are not suspended till election day is an expression of discrediting and attacking the independence and impartiality of the two IHC judges hearing the appeals against convictions in the Avenfield flats case.

“Both these judges are men of integrity and the orders passed by them in these appeals are quite in line with the kind of orders that have been usually passed in such appeals. I don’t know the reality of the agencies' manoeuvering in the fixation of cases," he said.

However, the bar has been demanding that the discretionary powers of the chief justice to constitute benches and fix cases should be properly structured by introducing suitable amendments in high court and Supreme Court rules,” he added.

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Sheikh said the role and interference of the intelligence agencies, if any, in the administration of justice is deplorable and must come to an end for which he fully supported the demand for an inquiry through an independent commission.

He said the issue of missing persons is a reality and the intelligence apparatus must be held accountable for such criminal acts of abductions and enforced disappearances.

“The role of the agencies in political engineering and changing the loyalties of 'electables' before the general elections is also manifest. In such an environment, the judiciary is already under tremendous pressure to demonstrate that justice is not only done but is seen to be done,” he added.

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