Pakistani court asks premier to regulate intel agencies

Pakistani court asks premier to regulate intel agencies

Rare judicial intervention comes as complaints against interference by intelligence agencies galore

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) - A Pakistani court has directed the prime minister to regulate the intelligence agencies and prevent them from interfering in any future court proceedings.

The rare order, which has set standing operating procedures (SOPs) as well, comes amid complaints of interference by intelligence agencies in Pakistani judiciary.

Justice Shahid Karim of Lahore High Court, in the southeastern Punjab province, also directed the provincial police chief to order subordinate officers to stay away from contacting any judge of the superior judiciary or the sub-ordinate judiciary.

"Instructions shall go out by the prime minister office to all civil or military agencies including Intelligence Bureau as well as Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) regarding strict directions not to approach or contact any judge whether of the superior judiciary or sub-ordinate judiciary or any member of their staff in future,” the judge said in a written order made public on Saturday.

The order emphasized no one should contact court regarding the merits of any pending judicial case.

The order came after a local judge of an anti-terrorism court in Sargodha city in the Punjab province had lodged a complaint with the Lahore High Court, accusing the intelligence agency officials of allegedly harassing him.

The judge had complained that he suffered after declining to meet some intelligence officials.

The complaint had come on the heels of a similar instance when in March six judges of Islamabad High Court wrote a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council and Chief Justice of Pakistan seeking intervention against alleged interference by intelligence agencies in the judiciary.

This case is currently pending in the top court.

Justice Karim warned of legal action in case the SOPs are not followed.

He directed all judges to record all calls in case intelligence agencies reach out to them.

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