ISLAMABAD: Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court remarked on Wednesday that there are no ‘prestigious institutions’ in the country as all are consisted of people and hence error prone.
The remarks were made during hearing of a case involving Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the country’s premier intelligence agency, which has requested the court to expunge several paragraphs from an order of IHC’s Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.
Justice Siddiqui, in the order passed on July 18, had asked the army chief and the top spymaster to stop meddling in affairs of other departments besides expressing concerns over manipulation of judicial proceedings.
Assistant Attorney General Khawaja Muhammad Imtiaz filed the appeal and stated that the single-member bench, while hearing a habeas corpus petition, unnecessarily dragged the premier intelligence agency in the controversy.
When the division bench comprising Justice Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb initiated the hearing earlier today, Imitiaz said that Justice Siddiqui passed several ‘unwarranted remarks’ against ‘prestigious institutions’ like army, intelligence agencies and judiciary at a time when the petition had already become ‘infructuous’.
“There are no prestigious institutions. All institutions are mere institutions. They are made of people and we should see if there is any drawback,” Justice Farooq responded.
Subsequently, the court issued notices to Islamabad’s Inspector General of Police, Director General of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), SHO Aabpara and one Iftikhar Ahmed Raja. In addition, the court ordered Islamabad’s Advocate General to appear on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the court did not suspend Justice Siddiqui’s order when Imitiaz requested on grounds that Justice Siddiqui has ordered to place his order before the army chief and DG ISI. The bench initially adjourned the matter till Monday but allowed counsel’s request to fix it on Thursday when he assured that notices will be served to the respondents today.
Among other things, the petition stated, Justice Siddiqui had specifically observed how cases are marked to different judges on the directions of such elements. “Everyone knows that how proceedings are manipulated, from where strings are pulled and when power wielded and manoeuvred to achieve desired results … It is matter of great concern that even benches are constituted and cases are marked to different benches on the direction of such elements.”
The order added that, “To remain like a silent spectator is against the oath made by every judge provided by the constitution,” adding that in case of failure the Pakistani nation and history will not remember the judges favourably.
In the written order pertaining to a missing person’s case, Justice Siddiqui had said abduction of people from different walks of life had become a routine in Islamabad but instead of performing their statutory duty the police came up with a stereotyped stance that persons might have disappeared on their own.
The judge had said such statements were always made in those cases in which allegations were levelled against the intelligence agencies, adding that it was a sorry state of affairs and a challenge to the state.
In the intra-court appeal (ICA), AAG Imtiaz said Justice Siddiqui’s remarks are “not only unsubstantiated and unfounded but also direct attack/allegation on the appellants, the institution of Pak Army, judiciary” and specifically the IHC’s chief justice and other judges.
“The impugned order is based upon mala fide and goes beyond the scope of justice and puts allegation on the appellants in a whimsical manner without substance,” he maintained.
He said the impugned order was circulated through the media and social media and “caused serious damage to the reputation of the country’s premier institutions of armed forces, intelligence agencies and the judiciary.”
He has argued in the appeal that disputed questions of fact cannot be resolved while exercising jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution. Appellants have reproduced the order as well as several paragraphs in the appeal.
The assistant attorney general requested the court to set aside relevant paras of the impugned order, declare that no abductions were carried out by any law enforcement agency and respondents’ petition be dismissed with cost.