ISLAMABAD: Responding to the government’s stance on judges’ security, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has asked the government to assess security requirement of the judiciary and deploy law enforcement personnel accordingly.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, briefing the media after a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday, had given a breakdown of the expenditure on “excessive protocols and security duties”. The minister had said that minimum spending was made on security of federal cabinet members and the major portion of the amount was being spent on the security of judges.
He had said that cabinet had decided to constitute “threat committees” in provinces and territories where the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is in power to cut down on “excessive spending” on security protocols of “important personalities”.
The IHC’s registrar in a letter addressed to the interior secretary and the chief commissioner of Islamabad, has said that the competent authority had directed him “to state that ensuring adequate security arrangements at the High Court or the District Courts falls within the exclusive domain of the executive branch of the state. Likewise, the assessment of security threat to the litigants, the Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Judges is the sole responsibility of the competent executive authorities”.
Referring to a terrorist attack on Islamabad’s subordinate judiciary in 2013, the letter recalls that it had resulted into loss of “several innocent lives including a judicial officer”.
Referring to an attack on the Chief Justice Block of the IHC, the letter says that “the event of February 8, 2021 and failure on part of the executive authorities to ensure adequate security had raised serious concerns. However, as a policy of this High Court, no interference has ever been made nor excessive security has been requested”.
The letter states that the IHC chief justice “desired that the competent authority may assess the security threat. They shall be at liberty to withdraw any excessive security provided to the premises of the High court, District Courts, litigants, Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Judges.”
The registrar has asked the interior secretary and the chief commissioner to report if there was “any interference by any official of High Court or the District Courts, in matters relating to the security”.
Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2021