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I strictly clarify,we are working freely and not under anyone’s pressure: CJP

23 July, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Sunday said it had begun reviewing statements made by a high court judge alleging the country’s spy agencies were influencing the judicial proceedings, as the military called for an investigation into the claims.

A day earlier, Islamabad High Court’s Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had accused the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of interfering in the legal cases.

“An honourable judge of the Islamabad High Court has leveled serious allegations against state institutions including honourable judiciary and the premier state intelligence agency,” a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Sunday said. “In order to safeguard the sanctity and credibility of the state institutions, honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan has been requested to initiate appropriate process to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and take actions accordingly,” the statement added.

Justice Siddiqui is already being investigated for alleged misconduct relating to the allocation and refurbishment of his official residence. He has denied the charges.

In March, Justice Siddiqui gave a ruling stating that citizens who disguised their religious affiliation were guilty of betraying the state and ordered that anyone applying for government jobs should declare their faith, a move human rights advocates termed a blow for the country’s persecuted minorities.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has also taken notice of the speech delivered by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui at an event organised by the Rawalpindi Bar Association. While taking notice of the matter, the chief justice has sought complete record of the speech from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

During hearing of a case at the Karachi registry on Sunday, the chief justice affirmed that the judiciary was working independently and free from any pressure.”I read about the remarks of a judge in Islamabad and was deeply saddened. As the head of the judiciary, I assure you that we are not under anyone’s pressure,” he said, adding, “I strictly clarify that we are working freely and not under anyone’s pressure.”

Meanwhile, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to constitute a judicial commission to probe the former’s allegations against the national institutions.

In a letter written to the CJP, Justice Siddiqui said that a commission be formed with a retired or serving judge as its head. He said the judge should not be someone who took oath under the provisional constitutional order (PCO) instated by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf in 2007.He demanded that the commission should probe the authenticity and truthfulness of the presented facts and that the proceedings must be open so that lawyers, media and civil society can attend and report on the same.

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