Pakistan: Judge removed from high court

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – The president of Pakistan on Thursday has dismissed a senior judge, who had accused country's powerful spy agency of manipulating the judicial proceedings, of the Islamabad High Court, officials said.

According to a notification issued by the Justice Ministry, President Arif Alvi has removed Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui from the Islamabad High Court after recommendation by the Supreme Judicial Council.

"The president of Pakistan has been pleased to remove Mr Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, Judge, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad from his office with immediate effect on recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Counci," read an official notification.

Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Judicial Council, the body that holds inquiries into allegations of incapacity or misconduct against Supreme or High Court judges, has recommended the president to remove Justice Siddiqui over on his controversial speech on July 21.

On July 21, Justice Shaukat Siddiqui, accused Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of being involved in “manipulating the judicial proceedings” in the country.

“ISI officials approached my chief justice and told him ‘We will not let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter get out of jail prior to the general elections’,” Siddiqui had claimed in his speech before the Rawalpindi Bar Association.

Siddiqui claimed officials of the spy agency asked the chief justice of Islamabad High Court to not include him on the bench hearing Sharif’s appeal.

On July 22, Pakistan’s army called on the Supreme Court to initiate an inquiry into allegations leveled by a senior judge against the country’s top spy agency.

“In order to safeguard the sanctity and credibility of the state institutions, the honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan has been requested to initiate the appropriate process of ascertain the veracity of the allegations and take actions accordingly,” said Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan military’s spokesman, in a his statement on July 22.

On July 6, a Pakistani court had handed a 10-year jail term to three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and imposed an 8-million-pound ($10.58 million) fine in a graft case linked to the illegal purchase of four luxury apartments in London in 1993.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar were sentenced to seven years and one year in jail, respectively.

Authorities arrested Sharif and his daughter at Lahore Airport after his return from London. However, later on Sept. 19, the Islamabad High Court suspended the accountability court verdict and ordered the release of Sharif, his daughter and his son-in-law.

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