ISLAMABD:-Former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim has submitted his original affidavit, which accuses former top judge Saqib Nisar of denying bail to PML-N leaders during the 2018 general elections, in the Islamabad High Court.
Justice (retd) Shamim had claimed in the affidavit, recorded allegedly on November 10, that three years ago the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nisar ordered the lower judiciary to delay the release of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz until after the 2018 general elections. The contents of the alleged affidavit were published by The News.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took notice of the report by The News and initiated contempt of court proceedings on November 16.
At the previous hearing, the court has deferred forming charges against Justice Rana Shamim till December 20.
At a hearing on Monday, Justice Shamim’s counsel, Lateef Afridi, said that the sealed copy of the affidavit has been brought to Pakistan and submitted in court.
Justice Athar Minallah said that the document has not been opened by the court yet. “The attorney general had said that Rana Shamim has admitted that the content published in the newspapers [The News report] was not the same as the contents of the affidavit.”
The chief justice of the Islamabad High Court remarked that the former judge has cast a doubt on all the judges of the court. He then asked Afridi to open the envelope to which the counsel replied that this will mean a new inquiry has been started.
“This is an open inquiry. This is our accountability,” Justice Minallah said, reiterating that Rana Shamim had made a “big statement without any evidence”, giving the impression that all IHC judges were “compromised”.
The former GB judge’s counsel argued that his client had promised that he never leaked the affidavit.
The court demanded evidence to be presented regarding the public opinion that was created after the news of the affidavit came out. “We won’t ask a journalist about the source of his news.”
Here, the secretary-general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Nasir Zaidi, who is the impartial advisor to the court in the case, said that freedom of expression should not be regarded as contempt of court.
Justice Minallah replied that although freedom of expression was a fundamental right, this case was different as here the freedom of expression was against the public interest.
The court, then, adjourned the hearing till December 28.
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