Is Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani playing the Final Stroke?

OpinionIs Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani playing the Final Stroke?

Agha Iqrar Haroon

Facing charges for misconduct in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of Islamabad High Court is receiving foreign media coverage nowadays for his audacious comments targeting intelligence agencies in the country.

   

His remarks may be considered Bold but I believe they are not Beautiful because his comments are related to the critical situation he is facing in the Supreme Judicial Council where applications against him are awaiting deliberation by SJC members.

Official circles claim that Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani wants to become a “victim hero” by raising the temperature against law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the country because he knows that he has nothing to defend himself in SJC but he is putting pressure on intelligence agencies to appearing before the court although he knows that he cannot call personnel of Armed Forces in High Court under Article 199 (3).

This claim of official circles that Justice Kiyani wants to become a “Victim hero” may be unfounded and contrary to fact and he may be serious about clipping the wings of intelligence agencies that are being portrayed as “anti-human” and their conduct during the era of former Prime Minister Imran Khan had been questionable on certain junctures and alleged reckless use of intelligence agencies by Imran Khan has surely dented their reputation. After allegedly using and abusing intelligence agencies, Imran Khan and his party are now taking advantage of their perceivable poor reputation.

The prime target of PTI has been the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and the disappearance case of poet Ahmad Farad is in Islamabad High Court where Justice Kiyani behaves like a superhero against alleged misconduct of intelligence agencies is being portrayed by PTI as a “crusade against all ills”. When Imran Khan was the Prime Minister the ISI became popular for abducting political opponents and Kala Dala (Black Vigo) became a by-word for terror and illegal abduction of everybody whosoever was not conversant to Niya Pakistan (New Pakistan) of Imran Khan.  What an irony that allegations against Kala Dala drivers were leveled when they were allegedly abducting political opponents under alleged directions of the then Prime Minister Imran Khan but that reputation is still haunting them. Neither the PDM government nor the Interim government investigated the situation of whether intelligence agencies were abducting political opponents (members of PDM parties) or not, therefore neither Imran Khan nor anybody was held responsible for the alleged use of intelligence for political gains. During Imran Khan, the reputation of intelligence agencies went too low and if a political opponent of PTI did not come home, fingers were raised towards Kala Dala. There is a saying that:

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when reputation is lost, all is lost.

First PTI played with a reputational approach and dragged intelligence agencies into the middle of all controversies and now using this reputational approach to further abuse their reputation. By using (maybe abusing) this reputational rapture, the family of poet Farhad is holding intelligence agencies responsible for abduction, and constant remarks of Justice Kiyani have already made intelligence agencies responsible for abduction without even listening to the aggrieved party—the government. Judge’s remarks are so categorical against intelligence agencies that it looks like he has already found intelligence agencies guilty of abducting poet Farad. Justice Kiyani had directed the law minister, secretary of the interior, secretary of defense, sector commander of ISI, sector commander of MI [Military Intelligence], and director of IB [Intelligence Bureau], to appear in court at the next hearing that is fixed on May 29, 2024.

Justice Kiyani is a judge and can direct the government functionaries to appear in the court his orders seem bold but certain parts of the takeaway of written order are not beautiful because no intelligence agencies would ever share its internal mechanism in an open court while Justice Kiyani has also ordered for live telecasting of proceeding of next hearing.

He had summoned the Defence secretary to explain the official practices of ISI, IB, and MI. I doubt that the Defence Secretary in an open court (with live transmission) would share such sensitive information. Moreover, Justice Kiyani has also ordered government functionaries to explain what the duties of the three agencies are, where they are defined, and what code they are subject to. The answer can maximize the written Term of Reference (ToR) that includes “to protect the interest of the country” but no government functionary can explain in an open court how to protect the country, what are mechanisms of operation and what threats faced by the country and who are alleged culprits posing threats to Pakistan?

The information about how many people have been detained by agencies, and how many cases registered by police is impossible to answer because the majority of such detentions can be under the process of questioning, and identities of the accused cannot be disclosed until the interrogation and questioning to them is completed.

In simple words, Friday remarks of Justice Mohsin Kayani were irrational in nature and even out of context and people present in the courtroom could feel that the Honorable Judge was suffering from severe mental stress and anxiety.

Many present in the courtroom claimed that there had been references against him in the Supreme Judicial Council for violating the code of conduct, on which the judge knows that he will not be able to escape, so he is venting all his anger with absurd words. Moreover, the conduct of several judges is under question in social media and otherwise and speeches on the floor of the Parliament questioning the conduct of higher judiciary are adding stress over judges. This is the first time in Pakistan that judges are facing the court of public therefore they are failing to control their anger and that is showing in their conduct like Justice Kiyani during Friday’s hearing.

The most important thing is that according to Article 199 (3) of the Constitution, it is not the jurisdiction of the High Court and it cannot call the armed forces personnel to the court in this way. In anger or stress, Justice Kiyani forgot this important Article of the Constitution during Friday’s hearing.

Article 199 clause (3) categorically says that an order shall not be made under clause (1) on an application made by or in relation to a person who is a member of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, or who is for the time being subject to any law relating to any of those Forces, in respect of his terms and conditions of service, in respect of any matter arising out of his service, or in respect of any action taken in relation to him as a member of the Armed Forces of Pakistan or as a person subject to such law.

Are the judges becoming reckless or are some of them doing such actions deliberately? This question needs an answer without going through the process of Contempt of Court against this writer.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

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