Pakistan: Order intelligence agencies to stop contacting judges directly – LHC to PM office


The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued a directive to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) instructing all civil and military agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to refrain from contacting or approaching any judge or their staff directly.

Justice Shahid Karim issued this directive in response to a written order, which surfaced on Saturday, following a complaint filed by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge in Sargodha. The judge alleged harassment after declining a meeting request from an intelligence agency.

Former LHC Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan initiated proceedings on the judge’s complaint through suo motu notice before his elevation to the Supreme Court. Justice Karim has since taken over the case.

During earlier hearings, Justice Karim underscored Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s accountability for intelligence agencies under his command.

In a detailed order dated June 27, Justice Karim emphasized the need to address recurring issues brought before the court to safeguard judicial independence. Accordingly, he mandated: “The PMO must instruct all civil and military agencies, including the ISI and Intelligence Bureau, to strictly avoid any future contact with judges or their staff, both in the superior and subordinate judiciary.”

Similar directives were extended to Punjab Police, with specific instructions for the Inspector General of Police to ensure no direct contact with judges regarding ongoing judicial matters.

Concerning the security of ATCs across Punjab, the court stipulated that any security measures must first receive approval from the respective judge of the court in question. Violations of this directive could lead to personal accountability and contempt charges against the Inspector General and Police Chief.

Additionally, Justice Karim mandated ATC judges in Punjab to install call-recording applications on their mobile phones. They are required to record any calls that may appear to influence ongoing judicial proceedings.

The order prioritized the expeditious handling of cases related to May 9, 2023, and instructed the Sargodha ATC judge and court staff to cooperate fully with investigations. It further directed all investigation proceedings to be video recorded and submitted to the court through the registrar.

The proceedings are adjourned until July 8.

Regarding the initial complaint, the Sargodha ATC judge reported incidents of harassment targeting his family following his refusal to meet with ISI officials on his first day in charge on June 7. The harassment included damage to his residence’s gas meter in Bahawalpur, where he previously served, and the receipt of a suspiciously inflated electricity bill for the preceding month. The judge also noted instances where his family members were harassed with personal information by unidentified individuals.__Pakistan Today