Speakers show grave concerns over influencing judiciary

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Speakers show grave concerns over influencing judiciary

Islamabad, MAY 6 /DNA/ – The speakers at the Devcom-Pakistan ‘Public Forum’ urge the Executive to take all possible measures to stop spy agencies undue fiddling and influence on the rule of law, saying the judiciary is the last hope of justice against all forms of tyrannies in the society.   

They said the spy agencies influencing or interfering with the judiciary has raised potential dangers to the principles of justice, democracy, and the rule of law. While intelligence agencies may play a crucial role in national security and gathering intelligence to protect citizens, their involvement in judicial matters is an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary, one of the cornerstones of a democratic society. Any form of interference from spy agencies could compromise this independence, leading to biased judgments or decisions that may serve the interests of the Establishment rather than upholding the rule of law.

The Devcom-Pakistan weekly online public discussion was organized on Saturday with the keynote speech by former Senator Farhatullah Babar, the Board Member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The other guest speakers included Vice Chancellor Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Dr. Nadeem ul Haq, Executive Director Devcom-Pakistan Munir Ahmed, development expert Qaiser Aijaz, journalist Sadia Rasheed, and social worker Amina Sadaf.   

Farhatullah Babar said that independence of judiciary is enshrined in all the three constitutions of 1956, 1962 and 1973 and enhanced by jurisprudence like the Al-Jehad Trust case the judiciary has security of tenure, adequate emoluments & pensions and exemption from accountability by the executive, elements necessary for its independence. However, judiciary independence has been undermined by repeated martial laws on the one hand and by pliant and compromised PCO judges who readily took oath of allegiance to the dictator on the other, he said.

Farhatullah Babar said the pliant and PCO judges legitimized repeated military interventions, abrogation of constitutions, murder of elected Prime Minister, dissolution of assemblies and political parties and much worse, not once but many times over. The judges-general nexus has been the greatest undermined independence of judiciary more than anything else. He said however it is reassuring that now the judges appeared to jettison the past as evident from the recent verdict in the ZAB case and the letter written by 6 IHC judges calling it “a most welcomed step in course correction”.

“The judiciary needs to be supported in this by all other institutions taking similar steps for course correction. The letter by the judges is also an opportunity to politicians, the generals, media and the people to correct their course, he said.

He said that the six judges had taken a bold step in exposing the agencies who undermined their independence. Now the political parties should make legislation defining the mandate of the intelligence agencies to end their meddling. He said that a Bill to make legislation for ISI was endorsed by the Senate sometime back. All political parties must join hands in getting that bill passed, he said.

He also called for implementation of the SC verdicts of 2012 in Asghar Khan case and 2019 in Faizabad dharna case and to hold accountable those in the agencies who manipulated public mandate and indulged in politics in violation of their oath. Not doing so will be a huge disservice to the country, he said.

Dr. Nadeem ul Haq said our system is the extension of the colonial system and we are forced to live in it. Not likely to come out of it very soon because the power mongers all around us. They want power by hook or by crook, and on the other hand politicians lack capacity to understand the legislation-making process. They also lack planning and management skills. They only want to come to power by abusing the system and that encourages the nonpolitical forces to intervene in every state institution.    

Executive Director Devcom-Pakistan Munir Ahmed said Allowing spy agencies to influence the judiciary undermines the system of checks and balances that is essential for preventing abuse of power and safeguarding individual rights. The judiciary serves as a check on the executive and legislative branches of government, and any undue influence from intelligence agencies weakens this vital function. After deteriorating Pakistan’s political system, now spy agencies are up to ruin the remaining meager trust over the judiciary, adding more to the dark-side of the Establishment.   

Munir Ahmed said the abuse of spy agencies to influence the judiciary opened the door to potential abuse of power, including politically motivated prosecutions, surveillance of political opponents, and erosion of civil liberties. Without proper oversight and accountability mechanisms, intelligence agencies may act with impunity, undermining democratic principles and the rule of law. Their involvement in judicial matters may further obscure the decision-making process and limit transparency, making it difficult for the public to trust the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

Qaiser Aijaz said Justice Munir’s legacy shall end now. Now the institutions have been exposed for their maneuvered decisions, illogical pressures and lack of transparency. All the civil society and general public shall stand by the independent judiciary, and say no to all the pressures. The judiciary also needs to exercise their powers rationally, and without succumbing to any pressures.