–Justice Siddiqui accuses ISI of manipulating judicial process, says judicial freedom now in control of ‘those with guns’
–Says 50% of responsibility of Pakistan’s current situation lies with judiciary while other institutions are responsible for the rest
–Vows to step down from office if Supreme Judicial Council finds him guilty in corruption reference
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on Saturday made startling allegations against the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for allegedly manipulating judicial proceedings, claiming that the the country’s premier spy agency had approached the IHC chief justice to ensure that convicted ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz remained in prison till the general election 2018.
In an explosive outburst while addressing the Rawalpindi District Bar Association, Justice Siddiqui said, “In today’s era, the ISI is fully involved in manipulating judicial proceedings. Their personnel get benches formed at their will.”
The recent remarks made by Justice Siddiqui are being considered strong and unusual coming from a senior judge. While he alluded to the ISI’s interference in judicial matters, he did not provide evidence during his speech in support of his claims.
He also claimed that ISI approached IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and said: “‘We do not want to let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter come out [of the prison] until elections, do not include Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the bench [hearing Sharifs’ appeals]’.”
Without taking names, Justice Siddiqui alleged: “I know who takes whose message to the Supreme Court.”
He asked: “Why was the administrative control of the accountability court taken away from the Islamabad High Court?”
He alleged that the judiciary’s freedom has been divested and that it is now in control of “those with guns”.
“I was told that ‘if you assure us of decisions in our favour, we will end references against you’,” Justice Siddiqui claimed, adding that he was offered to be made chief justice of the high court by September.
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Two references against Justice Siddiqui are pending at the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The first reference pertains to a corruption case filed against him by an employee of the Capital Development Authority (CDA). In the second reference, the SJC questions his critical comments regarding the role of the army during last year’s Faizabad sit-in.
The SJC will be holding an inquiry against Justice Siddiqui with regard to the abovementioned references, which, unlike past inquiries will be in an open court.
‘WILL RESIGN IF FOUND GUILTY OF CORRUPTION’:
Talking about his own accountability and corruption references during his address to the legal fraternity, Justice Siddiqui said that only the bar can truly hold him accountable and that his corruption references are highlighted “by a particular group” whenever he gives an important verdict.
He also said that he would resign if the bar found that he had been involved in corruption.
Justice Siddiqui further remarked that Pakistan cannot be compared to Europe or America but to India and Bangladesh. He stated that India is on the path to progress because the political process has never been halted there.
“50 per cent of responsibility of the country’s current situation lies with the judiciary while other institutions are responsible for the rest,” he remarked.
“Every time I pass a judgement in some crucial case, a campaign starts claiming that there are ongoing corruption charges against me,” he added.
“I humbly request to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to conduct an open trial against me and invite lawyers to see if there is any truth in the corruption allegations. If any corruption charges are proven I will resign.”
On Wednesday, the IHC judge alleged that the country’s intelligence agencies were interfering in the matters of the judiciary, media and the executive, and warned about the damages it could cause.
The senior high court judge said this during the proceedings of a case concerning the disappearance of two brothers by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).