ISLAMABAD: The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has rejected the seven-member larger bench headed by the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to probe the six judges’ letter documenting the intelligence agencies’ interference in judicial affairs, demanding the matter be heard by the full court instead of “like-minded judges” and that the proceedings should be televised.

Speaking at a press conference along with former chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, PTI central information secretary Raoof Hasan termed the suspension of PTI founding chairman’s sentence in the Thoshakhana case a ray of hope. However, he added that the sentence should have been quashed altogether since it was one of the around 200 “frivolous, bogus, and politically motivated” cases based on “political vendetta”.

He announced that the PTI would not accept the seven-member bench because the CJP constituted the bench of “like-minded judges” to get a decision of their choice, which, he said, PTI would not accept come what may.

He demanded that the matter should be investigated through a full court, and the proceedings should be telecast live, adding that a judicial conference should also be convened where all judges should be allowed to tell their stories.

He said that Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was a credible person and he took the right decision to recuse himself from heading the one-man inquiry commission.

Mr Hasan said that Mr Jillani stated in the letter that since the IHC judges letter is addressed to the members of Supreme Judicial Council and its chairman, the chief justice of Pakistan, it would be “violative of judicial propriety” for him to inquire into a matter which may fall within the jurisdiction of SJC or the Supreme Court.

He stated that former judge had endorsed PTI’s stance because they were also advocating that it was a serious matter and were demanding an investigation through the full court.

Mr Hasan congratulated the legal fraternity and bar associations for their unified stance and hoped that they would exert pressure in the same way so as to take the issue to its logical end.

He reiterated that PTI always talked about the supremacy of the Constitution and law and stood by the judiciary. He said that PTI never lost trust in the courts despite the fact that Mr Khan, other leaders, and workers had been subjected to “barbarities and fascism” during the past 23 months without any respite.

However, he stated: “Today is a great day for our party and the first drop of hope, as the nation’s beloved leader Imran Khan stood victorious and soon he will be released from unlawful detention to take the reins of the country as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.”

He said that the courts were virtually converted into kangaroo courts, as they were reduced to a tool of political engineering at the hands of the establishment, hoping that the practice of political engineering would eventually come to a halt.

Speaking on the occasion, Khalid Khurshid said that the judiciary was always fractured for vested interests that was the reason it ranked 138 in the world.

He stated that six judges did a commendable job by demonstrating great courage to expose the meddling in judicial affairs and vowed that they would let not rest and would take the matter to its logical conclusion.

“We have never seen such a judicial surrender in 75 years, as CJP surrendered six judges at the mercy of the executive,” he lamented.

Talking about chief justice’s “extension” reports, he said that it was all part of the “London Plan” as he would be “rewarded for his services”.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Muzzammil Aslam criticised the increase in petrol prices, claiming that it was Rs150 per litre during PTI’s tenure, but the incum­­bent government increased it to Rs290 per litre.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2024

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