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Supreme Court May Issue Guidelines to Judges

Supreme Court May Issue Guidelines to Judges

The Supreme Court, although yet to issue a written decree, appears inclined towards establishing guidelines for superior court judges facing interference or intimidation from agencies during their judicial duties. Senior puisne judge Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah emphasized the importance of establishing a code of conduct for superior court judges, a sentiment echoed by Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Athar Minallah.

However, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa has remained noticeably silent on the matter, focusing solely on clarifying his approach to the six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges. Despite former CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani questioning the legality of the inquiry commission, CJP Isa points towards social media pressure likely influencing his decision to recuse himself.

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Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Awan presented the government’s case with confidence during the hearing, indicating an amicable relationship between CJP Isa and the current executive. The government seems reassured by CJP Isa’s approach, which avoids confrontation with executive functionaries.

CJP Isa emphasized the role of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in addressing the issue, a stance that has stirred controversy among the Professional Lawyers Group. Some government officials believe that providing guidelines to high courts and establishing a reporting mechanism, as suggested by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, along with a code of conduct, would be widely accepted.

Former additional attorney general Waqar Rana highlighted the Supreme Court’s duty to safeguard the rule of law and ensure access to justice, stating that the court is empowered to protect judicial freedom. Advocate Tariq Bashir noted the uncertainty surrounding the next steps, suggesting that petitioners like Aitzaz and Hamid Khan may provide suggestions. There is a possibility of proceeding with a commission, contingent upon consent from all involved parties.