Ex-CJP Jilani refuses to head commission formed to probe IHC judges' letter

By
Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. — APP/File
Former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. — APP/File

  • Recusal comes hours after SC took suo motu notice on letter. 
  • Says it would have been “violative of judicial propriety” to probe matter. 
  • Says ToRs not relevant the subject asked to probe by six IHC judges.


ISLAMABAD: Minutes after the Supreme Court took suo motu notice on Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) judges' letter, former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani recused himself from heading the one-man commission formed by the government to probe the allegations regarding the intelligence interference in judicial matters.

The former CJ, while excusing himself, noted that since the letter was written by the judges to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and chief justice, it would have been “violative of judicial propriety” for him to probe the matter, which he argued, may fall “within the jurisdiction of a constitutional body which is the Supreme Judicial Council or the Supreme Court of Pakistan itself”.

former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillanis letter to PM Shehbaz Sharif. — Geo News/Reporter
former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani's letter to PM Shehbaz Sharif. — Geo News/Reporter 

Justice (retd) Jillani also noted that the “terms of the reference for inquiry” were not relevant to the subject asked to probe by the six IHC judges in their letter. He also noted that at the end of the letter the judges had requested for an “institutional consultation” on the issue.

“Though, the letter in question may not strictly fall within the parameters of Article 209 of the Constitution, but the Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan being a paterfamilias may address and resolve the issues raised in the letter at the institutional level. For the afore-referred reasons, I recuse myself to head the commission and proceed with the inquiry,” said Justice (retd) Jillani in the letter. 

The commission to probe the judges' letter was formed after PM Shehbaz Sharif and incumbent CJP, Qazi Faez Isa, met on the judges' letter that had emerged last week. 

The meeting between the CJP and PM Shehbaz was held after a full court had met the very next day, March 27, the letter had emerged. 

As a result of the meeting, the government decided to constitute a commission to probe into allegations levelled by the IHC judges.

Following the huddle, the federal cabinet on March 30 approved the constitution of an inquiry commission over allegations of the IHC judges and appointed former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (retired) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani as its head.

The commission was tasked to hold inquiry into the allegations levelled by the judges in a letter. Subsequently, the cabinet members also gave go-ahead to the terms of reference (ToRs) of the commission.

However, now with the recusal of the former chief justice and the Supreme Court taking suo motu notice on the issue, it remains to be seen what the fate would be of the commission.