–Justice Aamer Farooq says all institutions are made of people
–ISI requests high court to expunge parts of Justice Siddiqui’s order in which he asks spy agencies to stop meddling in affairs of judiciary
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Aamer Farooq on Wednesday stated that no institution is prestigious [than others], reasoning that “all institutions are made of people”.
The division bench, comprising Justice Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, has initiated the hearing of a case involving Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in which the country’s premier intelligence agency has requested the high court to remove several paragraphs from an order of IHC’s Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.
In his July 18 order, Justice Siddiqui had asked the army chief and the top spymaster to stop meddling in affairs of other departments besides expressing concerns over manipulation of judicial proceedings.
Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Khawaja Muhammad Imtiaz had filed the appeal on behalf of the spy agency and stated that the single-member bench of the IHC, while hearing a petition regarding the pertaining to a missing person’s case, unnecessarily dragged the ISI in the controversy.
The AAG added that Justice Siddiqui passed several ‘unwarranted remarks’ against ‘prestigious institutions’ like army, intelligence agencies and judiciary at a time when the petition had already become ‘infructuous’.
At this, Justice Farooq responded, “There are no prestigious institutions. All institutions are mere institutions. They are made of people and we should see if there is any drawback.”
The high court did not suspend Justice Siddiqui’s order when the AAG requested so on grounds that the judge even ordered to place the July 18 verdict before the army chief and ISI DG.
The bench initially adjourned the matter till Monday but allowed counsel’s request to fix it on Thursday when the counsel assured that notices will be served to the respondents on the same day. The court then issued notices to Islamabad’s Inspector General of Police (IGP), Director General of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Aabpara SHO and one Iftikhar Ahmed Raja. Moreover, the court directed Islamabad’s Advocate General to appear on Thursday.
The ISI, through the Ministry of Defence secretary, had approached the IHC against Justice Siddiqui’s July 18 order. The assistant attorney general requested the court to set aside relevant paras of the impugned order, declare that no abductions were carried out by any law enforcement agency and respondents’ petition be dismissed with cost.
In the intra-court appeal (ICA), the AAG said Justice Siddiqui’s remarks are “not only unsubstantiated and unfounded but also direct attack/allegation on the appellants, the institution of Pak Army, judiciary” and specifically the IHC’s chief justice and other judges.
He said the order was circulated through the media and social media which “caused serious damage to the reputation of the country’s premier institutions of armed forces, intelligence agencies and the judiciary.”
“The impugned order is based upon mala fide and goes beyond the scope of justice and puts allegation on the appellants in a whimsical manner without substance,” he maintained.
He has argued in the appeal that disputed questions of fact cannot be resolved while exercising jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution.
‘INTERFERING IN MATTERS’:
Justice Siddiqui had 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.
“I must observe that persons [at] the helm of affairs of all the institutions need to protect [their] hard-earned independence and take remedial steps to stop the invasion by [the] personnel of [a] particular institution and intelligence agencies,” his order noted
Justice Siddiqui, accusing the spy agencies of interfering in the affairs of the judiciary wrote, “Everyone knows […] how proceedings are manipulated, from where strings are pulled and when power [is] wielded and maneuver[ed] to achieve the desired results.”
“It is [a] matter of great concern that even benches are constituted and cases are marked to different benches on the direction of such elements,” he added.
The IHC currently faces a trial in the Supreme Judicial Council in a reference of misconduct moved on the complaint of a retired government employee who alleged that the judge had his official residence refurbished beyond entitlement.