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Pak judiciary and bar oppose interference by security institutions in court affairs

Pakistan’s Judiciary and the Supreme Court Bar Association on Saturday shut their horns over allegations of interference in judicial affairs by the country’s security institutions, with the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court stating vehemently that the country’s judicial system never allow itself to be dictated by other institutions.

Addressing a gathering at the Asma Jahangir conference in Lahore on the title Role of the judiciary in protecting human rights and strengthening democracy, Justice Gulzar Ahmed said the judiciary was functioning in a manner independent and that there was no kind of interference.

“I was not pressured by any institution or listened to any institution. No one tells me or guides me on how to write my verdict. I never made the decision to do it on anyone else’s word, and no one had the guts to tell me anything,” he said.

He vehemently denied that the judiciary is influenced by or dictated by other institutions.

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His statements came as part of his speech on the show where President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, Ali Ahmad Kurd, bluntly alleged that security institutions influence the senior judiciary. .

“A general dominates a country of 220 million inhabitants. This same general lowered the magistracy to the number of 126 [in rankings]“, he said referring to the 2021 rule of law index of the World Justice Project, on which Pakistan ranks 126th in the category of fundamental rights.

Judge Ahmed said no one interferes with his work and he decides cases on merit.

“I never listened, saw, understood or felt anyone’s dictation to me,” he said.

“My court does justice to the people. Come to the Ali Ahmad Kurd court and see what happens. Read the court decision and see what happens. My judges write judgments every day […] see how our court works with freedom, respects the law and applies the Constitution. he said.

Interestingly, speaking before Chief Justice Ahmed at the same forum, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah acknowledged that some of the Kurds’ criticisms were valid, saying that the judgments in cases such as the Nusrat Bhutto case and the Zafar Ali case The Shah case was history.

“These judgments were responsible for shaping and activating those to which Mr. Ali Ahmad Kurd referred,” Judge Minallah noted.

Justice Minallah went on to add that the judiciary should not “put its head in the sand and ignore its mistakes”.

The Supreme Court had on various occasions justified the military takeover of Ziaul Haq in 1977 in the Nusrat Bhutto case and that of Pervez Musharraf in 1999 in the Zafar Ali Shah case.

The senior judiciary came under further pressure after the former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan said in an affidavit that former Pakistani chief justice Saqib Nisar pressured an IHC judge to refuse the release on bail of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2018 until the end of the general election. .

The three-time prime minister, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were found guilty in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018. Sharif was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But Sharif was released on bail in both cases and was also allowed to travel to London for medical treatment.