Islamabad police on Tuesday filed a case on terror charges after all eight judges of the high court received threatening letters laced with a “white powder”.

The first information report (FIR) was registered at the capital’s Counter Terrorism Department police station on the complaint of duty clerk Qadeer Ahmed under Section 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

In the FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Ahmed said he worked at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and eight letters were received a day ago for each of the court’s judges, including Chief Justice (CJ) Aamer Farooq. He said that the letters were dispatched today and received by the personal secretaries of the judges.

He said the sender was stated as a woman named Resham but there was no address mentioned. Qadeer said that shortly after, he was alerted that there was a “chemical powder” found in one of the letters. He added that the judges’ staff were subsequently instructed to not open the remaining letters.

He said the police were immediately informed about the matter, adding that the sender had attempted to influence judicial decisions by spreading “fear and harassment”.

Ahmed went on to say that police personnel reached the IHC around 2pm and seized all of the letters, four of which had been opened by this time while the remaining four were sealed. He said that a “white powder” was found in the unsealed envelopes.

He said that a police team arrived to conduct an initial analysis of the powder. The complainant said the content of the letters that had been opened referred to an outfit, Tehreek Namoos-i-Pakistan, and criticised the judicial system and used the word “Bacilus Anthracis” to issue a threat.

The anthrax germ Bacillus Anthracis sickens and causes death by proliferating in the bloodstream, where it releases powerful toxins. Infection is usually treated by a long course of antibiotics.

CJ Farooq had referred to the incident earlier today while hearing PTI founder Imran Khan’s appeal against his conviction in the cipher case. During the hearing, he had said the issue was one of the reasons for a delay in the proceedings.

“Basically the high court has been threatened,” the IHC chief justice had remarked.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad police said an investigation into the “threatening letters” has begun and would be completed soon by using all available resources.

The PTI also demanded an “immediate and comprehensive investigation” into the matter, saying the incident was “clearly intended to intimidate” the IHC judges.

The development comes days after after six IHC judges wrote a startling letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) members last week, regarding attempts to pressure judges through the abduction and torture of their relatives as well as secret surveillance inside their homes.

The letter was signed by Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Babar Sattar, Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Saman Rafat Imtiaz.

A day later, calls had emerged from various quarters for a probe into the investigation, amid which Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa had summoned a full court meeting of the apex court judges.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had met CJP Isa, and the two had decided to form a commission to investigate the concerns of interference in judicial affairs following the cabinet’s approval.

On Saturday, the federal cabinet had approved the constitution of an inquiry commission headed by ex-CJP Tassa­duq Hussain Jillani to probe the allegations and decide whether these are true or otherwise.

On Sunday, lawyers and civil society members — in a joint letter — had urged the top court to take “cognisance of the matter in its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution as this issue eminently relates to public interest and to the enforcement of fundamental rights”.

They had called on the top court to initiate suo motu proceedings as it rejected the “powerless” one-man commission appointed by the federal cabinet to probe the claims.

A day ago, Jillani refu­s­ed to become part of the one-man commission esta­bli­s­hed to probe the allegations of the executive’s int­erference in judicial affa­irs, after which the apex court constituted a seven-member bench to probe the claims of meddling with its first hearing set for tomorrow (Wednesday).

Tehreek Namoos-i-Pakistan

In September last year, the Bomb Disposal Squad had recovered a bag containing three grenades, a pistol and an alleged threatening letter on the capital’s Trail 5.

The threatening letter from the unknown outfit Tehreek Tahaffuz Namoos-i-Pakistan was addressed to judges and generals. A map, having information about important buildings in the federal capital, was also found in the bag.

The letter found in the bag had stated that the situation in Pakistan was worsening with inflation rising without a check and the then-caretaker government had become a slave of the International Monetary Fund while generals were continuously interfering in politics.

“The justice system of the country has been rotten and brain drain is on its peak. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are hopeless. We have decided to teach a lesson to judges and generals,” the letter had stated.

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