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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Former CJP Tassaduq Jillani to lead commission to probe IHC letter

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the cabinet greenlit the establishment of this commission.

The federal cabinet convened on Saturday and appointed former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, to spearhead the inquiry commission tasked with investigating a letter penned by six judges from the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The missive alleged undue interference by intelligence agencies in judicial affairs. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the cabinet greenlit the establishment of this commission. Fondly referred to as ‘the gentleman judge’ for his mild demeanor, Jillani retired from his judicial duties in July 2014.

This decision swiftly followed the Supreme Court’s endorsement of a proposal advocating for a commission, led by a retired judge, to scrutinize the concerns raised in the letter by the six IHC judges. Accepting the mantle of leading the commission, the former chief justice expressed his intention to commence proceedings post-Eidul Fitr, awaiting the formal notification.

Responding to queries from journalists regarding the nature of the inquiry, Jillani underscored its sensitive nature, refraining from divulging further details, as it does not entail an open judicial process. Meanwhile, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa conveyed to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif the judiciary’s unwavering stance against any executive intrusion into judicial matters, emphasizing the paramount importance of judicial independence.

Interference will not be tolerated 

During the cabinet meeting, discussions also revolved around the recent Bisham terror attack. Prime Minister Sharif vowed to ensure accountability for the perpetrators, directing the inquiry committee to furnish a report within three days.

The genesis of this inquiry lies in the letter dispatched by the six IHC judges – Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Fafat Imtiaz – to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). They urged for a judicial convention to address alleged encroachments by intelligence agencies in judicial affairs.

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In response, Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, during a meeting with Prime Minister Sharif, unequivocally expressed the judiciary’s position against any executive meddling in judicial affairs. This meeting resulted in an agreement to establish an inquiry commission. These developments unfolded shortly after the Supreme Court invalidated the removal of former IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, decreeing him to be regarded as a retired judge henceforth.