A Pakistani high court judge today alleged that the country's powerful ISI spy agency is pressuring the chief justice and other judges to get favourable verdicts in different cases, including against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Speaking at the Rawalpindi Bar Association today, Islamabad High Court judge Justice Shaukat Siddiqui openly lashed out at the Inter Services Intelligence for "controlling" the judiciary and media.
"Today the judiciary and media have come in the control of 'Bandookwala' (army). Judiciary is not independent. Even the media is getting directions from the military. The media is not speaking the truth because it is under pressure and has its interests," he said.
He said, "In different cases, the ISI forms benches of its choice to get desired results. The ISI had asked the chief justice to make sure that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz should not come out of jail before the July 25 election. It also had asked him not to include me in the bench hearing the appeal of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter in the Avenfield case. The CJ told ISI that he would make a bench of its choice."
The bench deferred the Sharifs' appeal case after polls. Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are serving 10 and seven-year terms, respectively, in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi in the Avenfield corruption case.
Both were arrested on July 13 on their arrival from London after an accountability court found them guilty over his family's ownership of four luxury flats in the UK capital.
Shaukat Siddiqui further said, "I was offered by the ISI that a reference against me would be withdrawn if I agreed to cooperate with it. I was even offered to be made chief justice. But I refused as believe that it is better to die than to sell my conscience."
The judge said the judiciary and media are a voice of people's conscience. "If their freedom is curbed then Pakistan will remain no more an independent country. Owing to military dictatorship during half of 70 years of its history, Pakistan today is neither an Islamic nor a democratic country," Mr Siddiqui said.