Pakistan military denies interference in polls, calls on apex court to verify allegations
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Pakistan military denies interference in polls, calls on apex court to verify allegations

Pakistan’s military on Sunday denied accusations of stage managing the general elections, calling on the Supreme Court to “initiate appropriate process to ascertain the veracity of the allegations”.

world Updated: Jul 23, 2018 12:01 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,Pakistan military,Pakistan Elections
In this July 19, 2018, photo, Banners and posters of election candidates from political parties, decorated outside a compound of Christian neighborhood in Islamabad, Pakistan.(AP)

Pakistan’s military on Sunday denied accusations of stage managing the general elections, calling on the Supreme Court to “initiate appropriate process to ascertain the veracity of the allegations”.

The military’s statement, tweeted out by its chief spokesman Asif Ghafoor, was in response to claims by Islamabad high court judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on Saturday that the ISI was pressurising the judiciary into doing its bidding.

The statement posted by Ghafoor read: “An honourable judge of Islamabad high court of Pakistan has levelled serious allegations against state institutions, including honorary judiciary and the premier state intelligence agency.”

The statement says that “in order to safeguard the sanctity and credibility of the state institutions”, the Supreme Court has been requested to “initiate appropriate process to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and take actions accordingly”.

Earlier on Sunday, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar took “serious notice of a speech delivered by justice Siddiqui... alleging interference of intelligence agencies of the country in judicial matters”. The top judge has also called for complete record of the speech from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

Siddiqui, while addressing the Rawalpindi Bar Association on Saturday, had claimed that ISI personnel were manipulating judicial proceedings against the Sharif family. “Their personnel get benches formed at their will,” Justice Siddiqui had alleged.

He had further claimed that the spy agency had approached Islamabad high court chief justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and said: “’We do not want to let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter come out (of prison) until elections, do not include Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on the bench (hearing Sharifs’ appeals)’.”

“I know who takes whose message to the Supreme Court,” Siddiqui had further said. “Why was the administrative control of the accountability court taken away from the Islamabad high court?”

He further alleged that the judiciary’s freedom has been divested and that it is now in control of “those with guns”.

“I was told that ‘if you assure us of decisions in our favour, we will end cases against you’,” Siddiqui claimed, adding that he was offered to be made chief justice of the high court by September.

Chief Justice Nisar, during his day-long visit to Karachi on Sunday, told reporters: “Being the top judge, I am making it abundantly clear that there is no pressure on us. We are working under the supremacy of the Constitution and the law.”

“Such statements are inconceivable and unacceptable,” he continued, adding that he will take into consideration all possible legal actions on the matter.

He assured reporters that legal action would be taken and the facts of the matter brought before the public.

“No one can dare put pressure on the judiciary,” he said, clarifying that he wanted to apprise the public in their own interest, not because there was any pressure on the judiciary to do so.

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 12:00 IST