After eight IHC judges, three LHC judges receive threat letters filled with suspicious substance

Lahore, April 3 (IANS) Amid allegations of interference by Pakistan’s spy agencies in judicial matters, three judges of Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday received suspicious letters containing an unknown powder, a day after eight judges of Islamabad High Court received the same.

On Thursday, at least eight judges of the IHC, including Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, received threatening letters with suspicious substance.

As soon as the letters were received by the three judges, security in and around the LHC has been beefed up while forensic teams were called in to check the letters and the powder present in them.

It is believed that the powder present in the letters sent to IHC and LHC judges contained anthrax. Anthrax powder can cause major damage to the human body through infection, multiple organ systems (sepsis) inflammation of the membranes and fluid covering the brain and spinal cord, leading to massive bleeding (hemorrhagic meningitis) and death.

The suspicious letters have been certainly aimed at targeting the judges of the IHC and the LHC threatening them of serious consequences in view of the latest suo moto notice taken by the Supreme Court in a complaint by six sitting judges of the IHC, accusing the country’s intelligence agencies for threatening, harassing, intimidating and interfering in judicial matters.

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Even as a full court meeting of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) decided to form a one-member inquiry committee comprising former SC judge to investigate the matter; the Chief Justice was forced to take suo moto notice after at least 300 lawyers from across the country, including bar associations, rejected the commission and called for a suo moto proceedings by a full bench of the Supreme Court.

The investigation revealed that a woman named Resham, wife of Waqas Hussain, sent the threatening letters with anthrax powder. However, no address of sender was mentioned on the letters.

Moreover, today the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s seven -member bench took up the first hearing of the suo moto case and reiterated that there would be zero tolerance towards any intervention of any entity including the spy agencies in judicial matters.

During the hearing, the judges commented and conceded that intervention in judicial matters has been going on for years. Without naming the intelligence agencies, all judges and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) agreed that interventions and interferences by the secret spy agencies in judicial matters have been consistently happening.

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“We cannot keep hiding our faces like an ostrich in the sand. We need to tell the truth. Here, the executive is being accused,” said Justice Athar Minallah during the proceedings.

“It is not just a simple accusation. It is that there has been a policy that has been going on for a very long time. So, who would investigate? The executive? It will investigate its own self?” Justice Minallah added.

“There is impunity against this culture of deviance. And that is what has made the constitutional unworkable. So let us not close our eyes, let us not bury our heads in the sand. Let us face the reality. It is our responsibility to uphold the Constitution and protect fundamental rights. We can’t just shut our eyes. It is happening. Let us not pretend that nothing is happening,” highlighted Justice Minallah.

Another sitting Supreme Court Judge said, “Why not we take this letter as an opportunity? For the first time in history, we are sitting on this issue. I think there is nothing else more important than this issue. Because until the judiciary is not free, nothing can be done”.

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The first hearing was adjourned till April 29. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that he will try to hear the case on a daily basis from April 29 onwards.

There are suspicions that the letters with life-threatening dangerous powder in them, addressed to judges of the IHC and now the LHC, may be the work of the spy agencies, who would try to break into the judiciary and its strength by threats and intimidation tactics, sources said.

–IANS

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