ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will head an inquiry commission, constituted by the federal cabinet, to probe the allegations of the Islamabad High Court’s six judges of “interference” and “intimidation” by the “operatives of intelligence agencies”.

The cabinet, on Saturday, presided by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also approved the formation of the inquiry commission.

In a meeting between PM Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, on May 28, a proposal was made to constitute an Inquiry Commission under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017, which should be headed by a retired judge of impeccable integrity to inquire into the matter.

Only listed cos required to comply with CSR requirements: ex-CJP

Justice Jillani had retired as the chief justice of the Supreme Court in July 2014. He also served as ad-hoc judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to represent Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The ex-CJP is known as a liberal, independent, and balanced judge.

The Supreme Court Bar Association has welcomed the appointment of Justice Jillani to head the commission. SCBA President Shahzad Shaukat, while talking to Press Association of Supreme Court Reporters members said no one should have any objection on Justice Jillani’s nomination. He clarified that the statement of any Bar’s member regarding the instant matter not be deemed as the SCBA’s stance.

However, Balochistan High Court Bar Association rejected the nomination and demanded that the Supreme Court should take suo moto notice on IHC judges’ letter and the SC Full Court hear it.

The commission will fully investigate the allegations of the IHC judges and determine their veracity, if any. It will also investigate if any official was directly involved in judicial interference and suggest action against any agency, department or state institution based on the facts unearthed.

The commission will also be at liberty to investigate any other matter during the course of the inquiry if it feels the issue to be important.

The federal cabinet repudiated the allegations of the IHC judges and declared them to be “inappropriate”, adding that the consensus of its members was that they believed in the separation of powers of state institutions as per the Constitution.

The IHC’s six judges, including Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Raffat Imtiaz, on March 25, wrote a letter to the SJC seeking guidance on the interference of intelligence agencies.

CJP Qazi Faez in view of the gravity of the allegations levelled in the said letter, called a meeting on the same day with the chief justice and all the judges of the IHC after Iftar at 8pm at the chief justice’s residence. The concerns of all the judges were heard individually in a meeting which lasted for over two and a half hours.

The following day (27 March), the CJP met with Attorney-General Mansoor Usman Awan and Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, and thereafter, the CJP along with the Senior Puisne Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah met with the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the senior most member of the Pakistan Bar Council, present in Islamabad.

The same day a Full Court Meeting of all the judges of the Supreme Court was called under the chairmanship of the chief justice of Pakistan to deliberate over the issues raised in the letter. A consensus was developed among the majority of the members of the Full Court that in view of the gravity of the situation, the CJP may hold a meeting with the prime minister on the issues raised in the said letter and the meeting was adjourned. Therefore, on May 28, the CJP along with Senior Puisne Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Registrar Supreme Court Jazeela Aslam met with PM Shehbaz Sharif. Federal Minister for Law Tarar, and Attorney General for Pakistan Awan were also present in the meeting.

The prime minister had four names – former chief justices, Justice (retired) Nasirul Mulk or Justice (retired) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani or Justice (retired) Mushir Alam or Justice (retired) Manzoor Malik to head the inquiry commission. However, the top priority of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was ex-CJP Tassaduq or Justice Nasir. The names of Justice Mushir or Justice Malik were in case of the two former chief justices decline the request.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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