Pakistan Announces Inquiry into Alleged Army Meddling in Judiciary

Last Updated on March 29, 2024 3:40 am

In a move towards transparency and accountability, Pakistan has announced plans to establish an inquiry commission to investigate allegations of interference by the country’s powerful intelligence agencies in judicial matters. The decision comes following a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, where concerns over judicial independence were discussed.

The announcement was made by Pakistan’s Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar during a press conference in Islamabad. Tarar emphasized the importance of addressing accusations raised by six High Court judges regarding intimidation and coercion by intelligence operatives, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in influencing judicial decisions.

The judges’ concerns were highlighted in a letter addressed to the Supreme Judicial Council, detailing instances where ISI operatives allegedly attempted to manipulate judicial outcomes in politically significant cases. Despite assurances from higher authorities, including the then-chief justice and the ISI leadership, the interference reportedly persisted, prompting calls for a thorough investigation.

The letter cited specific incidents, such as intimidation tactics employed against judges handling cases related to prominent political figures like former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his rival Nawaz Sharif. Both Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have accused the ISI of exerting undue influence on judicial proceedings, alleging that such interference has impacted the country’s democratic process.

The move to probe allegations of army interference underscores Pakistan’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the independence of its judiciary. Prime Minister Sharif is expected to formally approve the establishment of the commission during an upcoming cabinet meeting, signaling a proactive approach towards addressing concerns of judicial integrity and impartiality.

With Pakistan’s history marked by periods of military rule and political instability, the inquiry into army meddling in judicial affairs represents a significant step towards fostering accountability and ensuring that democratic institutions remain free from undue influence.

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