The District Bar Association of Rawalpindi on Monday distanced itself from Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui's speech in which he accused a security agency of meddling in judicial affairs.
While addressing the Rawalpindi bar on Saturday, the IHC judge had claimed that personnel of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were manipulating judicial proceedings.
Amidst chants of "shame!" from members of the bar and other attendees, he had claimed that the spy agency had approached IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and said: "'We do not want to let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter come out [of the prison] until elections; do not
include Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on the bench [hearing the Sharifs' appeals]'."
Justice Siddiqui had offered no evidence to support the claims he made.
Addressing a joint press conference on Monday, the bar's president, Khurram Masood Kayani, and Secretary General Raja Amir said Justice Siddiqui's speech had nothing to do with the bar.
They said the senior IHC judge had been invited to the bar to speak to young lawyers about legal ethics, but that he "started mocking institutions in a speech".
The bar condemns the speech against state institutions, the office-bearers said.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had on Sunday taken "serious notice of a speech delivered by Justice Siddiqui [...] alleging interference of intelligence agencies of the country in judicial matters". The top judge also called for complete record of the speech from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
Also on Sunday, the military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, had requested the Supreme Court to "initiate appropriate process to ascertain the veracity of the allegations" made by Justice Siddiqui.
In a letter that emerged hours later, the IHC judge had requested the CJP to constitute a commission to probe the allegations levelled by him.
Justice Siddiqui requested the top judge to appoint any serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court "who has not taken oath under PCO
[Provisional Constitutional Order]" for the single-member commission.
He said he is "ready to face the consequences" if the independent commission does not find any reality in his claims, "but at the same time I have a right to enquire that if my presented facts are proved correct, what would be the fate of those persons, be they serving army personnel, who are involved in manipulating the judicial system".
Two separate references against Justice Siddiqui are also pending at the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The first reference pertains to a corruption case filed against him by an employee of the Capital Development Authority. In the second reference, the SJC is reviewing the judge's critical comments regarding the role of the army in last year's Faizabad sit-in led by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan.