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LHC directs PM Office to stop civil, military agencies from contacting judges

The Lahore High Court has instructed the Prime Minister’s Office to direct all civil and military agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence, to refrain from contacting any members of the judiciary.

Justice Shahid Karim issued a detailed four-page interim order on Saturday in response to a case concerning the alleged harassment of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge in Sargodha. The court took suo motu notice initially under former LHC Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan, who subsequently transferred the proceedings to Justice Karim after his elevation to the Supreme Court.

During previous hearings, Justice Karim had urged the prime minister to establish clear guidelines for security agencies, emphasizing the responsibility of higher authorities to prevent such incidents.

The written order explicitly prohibits any agency from approaching or contacting judges or their staff in the future, both in superior and subordinate judiciary. The order also mandates that police officers in Punjab must not directly communicate with judges regarding ongoing judicial matters.

Regarding security measures for Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs) across Punjab, the order stipulates that these can only be implemented with the consultation and agreement of the respective court’s judge. It holds the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and divisional or district police chiefs personally accountable for any violations, subjecting them to potential contempt proceedings in the LHC.

Furthermore, the order directs ATC judges across Punjab to use call recording applications to document any calls suspected of influencing judicial proceedings.

It emphasizes expeditious handling of cases related to May 9, 2023, and mandates video recording of all investigation proceedings, with records to be submitted to the court through its registrar.

The court adjourned the hearing until July 8, with instructions for the ATC judge and staff to cooperate fully in the ongoing investigation.

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