Islamabad High Court judge sacked for his remarks against ISI

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui

A senior judge, who was in line to become the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) next month when incumbent Kansi is set to retire, has been sacked for making a statement that the country’s powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was manipulating judicial proceedings to get favourable decisions.

The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) had recommended the removal of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who was facing a case of alleged misconduct over his speech targeting the ISI.

Mr. Siddiqui was sacked on Thursday by Pakistan President Arif Alvi. He is the second senior most judge of the IHC.

Justice Siddiqui, while addressing the Rawalpindi District Bar Association on July 21, alleged that the ISI was manipulating judicial proceedings to constitute a panel of judges to get favourable decisions.

“Today, the judiciary and media have come in the control of ‘Bandookwala’ [army]. The judiciary is not independent. Even the media is getting directions from the military. The media is not speaking the truth because it is under pressure and has its interests...In different cases, the ISI forms benches of its choice to get desired results,” he had said.

The army had asked the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take notice of the remarks after IHC Chief Justice Anwar Kansi rejected the allegations against Mr. Siddique.

The matter was referred to the SJC, which is the body to take up complaints against judges of higher courts and also recommend punitive actions, including removal from judiciary.

A five-member SJC bench, headed by CJP Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the case.

The SJC, after hearing the case, issued its decision on Thursday, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan to remove Mr. Siddique as his conduct was unbecoming of a judge.

“The Council is unanimously of the opinion that in the matter of making his speech...Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, Judge, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad, had displayed conduct unbecoming of a judge of High Court and was, thus, guilty of misconduct and he is, therefore, liable to be removed from his office,” the panel said.

The 39-page opinion of the SJC was penned by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

Later, the Law Ministry issued a notification that the President has removed Mr. Siddiqui in the light of recommendations of the SJC.

Mr. Siddiqui’s lawyer, Hamid Khan, said that though there was no provision of appeal against the decision of the SJC he would take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Second judge removed by SJC

Mr. Siddiqui is the second judge removed by the SJC. Justice Shaukat Ali of the Lahore High Court was sacked in 1973 for corruption. The proceeding of the case against judge Ali went on for 10 months.

Most of the judges had opted to tender their resignation to avoid SJC inquiry. However, Justice Siddiqui opted to face the charges of misconduct.

Interestingly, cases of misconduct against CJP Nisar and three other judges of the Supreme Court have been with the SJC for a long time but no proceeding has taken place. But the case against Mr. Siddiqui was decided after a preliminary hearing held in-camera.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2022 7:54:05 am |