Pak: All 8 judges of Islamabad HC receive threatening letters laced with 'white powder'

Apr 02, 2024

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 3 : All eight judges of the Islamabad High Court received threatening letters laced with a white powder, prompting the police register a case on terror charges, Dawn reported.
The First Information Report (FIR) was lodged at the capital's Counter Terrorism Department police station, filed under Section 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Duty clerk Qadeer Ahmed, in his complaint, detailed the events that unfolded at the Islamabad High Court (IHC). According to him, eight letters, each addressed to a judge including Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, arrived a day prior, with the sender identified as a woman named Resham. However, there was no return address provided, according to Dawn.
Ahmed recounted the moment when it was discovered that one of the letters contained a suspicious chemical powder. Following this alarming discovery, instructions were swiftly issued to the judges' staff not to open the remaining letters. Law enforcement was promptly notified of the potentially perilous situation, with Ahmed expressing concern over attempts to influence judicial decisions through fear and harassment.
Police swiftly arrived at the IHC premises, seizing all eight letters. Tragically, four of them had already been opened, revealing disturbing contents referencing an outfit known as Tehreek Namoos-i-Pakistan. The letters criticised the judicial system and ominously used the term "Bacilus Anthracis" as a threat, indicating a highly dangerous situation.
The anthrax bacterium, Bacillus Anthracis, poses a grave threat to human health, causing sickness and even death by releasing potent toxins into the bloodstream. Treatment typically involves a prolonged course of antibiotics.
Chief Justice Farooq highlighted the gravity of the situation earlier during proceedings related to PTI founder Imran Khan's appeal against conviction in the cipher case. He underscored the threat faced by the high court, signaling a significant delay in the legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, Islamabad police have initiated an investigation into the threatening letters, vowing to utilise all available resources to swiftly resolve the matter.
The incident comes in the wake of a shocking letter penned by six IHC judges to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), detailing disturbing accounts of attempts to pressure judges through the abduction and torture of their relatives, along with clandestine surveillance inside their homes, as reported by Dawn.
In response to mounting concerns, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa convened a full court meeting of apex court judges to address the issue. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also met with CJP Isa, leading to the formation of an inquiry commission headed by ex-CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.
However, Jillani declined to be part of the one-man commission, prompting the apex court to establish a seven-member bench to probe the allegations of executive interference in judicial affairs.
This latest incident echoes a similar episode in September last year when a bag containing grenades, a pistol, and a threatening letter addressed to judges and generals was discovered in Islamabad. The ominous message, attributed to Tehreek Tahaffuz Namoos-i-Pakistan, Dawn reported.