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'Pak's ISI tried sex-blackmail of judges'

Secretly filmed videos were sent to judges as they were deciding whether Pervez was eligible to run for president in uniform, claims a daily.

world Updated: Nov 11, 2007 22:04 IST

Some of Pakistan's Supreme Court judges and their children were secretly filmed in compromising positions as part of a dirty tricks campaign waged by the country's feared military intelligence, a leading daily claimed on Sunday.

Videos were sent out to at least three of the 11 judges in September as they were deciding whether General Pervez Musharraf was eligible to run for president while still army chief, The Sunday Times reported.

One showed a judge with his young mistress while another was of a judge's daughter having sex with a boyfriend, it claimed.

"The message was clear," said a British barrister who was told about the tapes by a Pakistani counterpart. "If you rule the wrong way, these will become public and your family destroyed."

Quoting government and Supreme Court sources, the report said hidden cameras continued to be used to compile evidence against judges until a few weeks before the emergency was declared.

The family of a woman who was having an affair with a Supreme Court judge said they were devastated to learn that her trysts had been filmed.

The daily, quoting judicial sources, said "The ISI was sending the girls and the judges were enjoying it without knowing they were being filmed. Now they have videos of several of them."

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry himself was the subject of a separate ISI smear campaign during the government's attempt to have him dismissed in March.

Among the affidavits claiming he had used his influence to help his son set a plum government job.

A military source who was privy to the dirty tricks campaign told the newspaper it had failed. "They tried their best to blackmail the judges, but when the judiciary got public support, it was like getting new oxygen," he said.

It was a fear that the Supreme Court ruling, due last week, would go against him that led Musharraf to declare the state of emergency that has plunged the country into crisis, it said.

Although Musharraf claimed he had acted to prevent extremists taking over the country, the judiciary appears to have been his principal target.

No Jihadi leaders have been arrested but he sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and eight of the 11 Supreme Court judges and scrapped the Constitution.

Since declaring the state of emergency last weekend, Musharraf has placed most of the country's top judges and human rights activists under house arrest.

Lawyers have so far led most of the protest rallies and hundreds have been arrested. The sacked judges were replaced by others who swore an oath of allegiance to Musharraf.

Quoting western diplomats, the report said it was Musharraf's intelligence chiefs who talked him into the desperate measure by convincing him that the Supreme Court was about to overturn his re-election as president. But it might have been false information, the report added.

First Published: Nov 11, 2007 21:22 IST