IHC to charge Rana Shamim, others in affidavit case on Jan 7

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has decided on Tuesday to charge former Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chief Justice Rana Shamim and others accused in a contempt of court case on January 7, 2022.

According to the details, Jang Group owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, editor of The News Amir Ghauri, and journalist Ansar Abbasi have also been indicted by IHC pertaining to the publication of an affidavit containing serious allegations against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

It may be recalled that Rana Shamim had alleged that Saqib Nisar had denied bail to former Prime Minister (PM) Mian Nawaz Sharif and his daughter before the general elections in 2018, adding that the High Court judges were pressured. However, the former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has denied the allegations.

On Tuesday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah began hearing contempt notices. The court then handed over the original affidavit to Rana Shamim’s lawyer and ordered to open it, on which Rana Shamim’s lawyer Latif Afridi apologised for opening the envelope saying that the court itself should open the sealed envelope.

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Rana Shamim’s lawyer told the court that since the court had asked for the affidavit, the court had to open it, on which the court ordered the former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan to open the envelope and present it in the court.

The Chief Justice remarked that the court had to ensure that we do not go beyond freedom of expression.

He said that this matter should not be considered as contempt of court but this court proceedings were initiated because the statement was made that this court has been compromised. He said that this court was holding itself accountable. The Chief Justice said that this was not a contempt of court case but a case of accountability of the Islamabad High Court.

Attorney General Khalid Javed told the court that the former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan would also have to state who was present at the time he took the oath.

He said that it was also necessary to state where the affidavit was given and who leaked the affidavit.

The Attorney General said that Rana Shamim had stated that the affidavit was sealed and given to his grandson and according to the Attorney General, when the affidavit was given to the courier service, it was not sealed. He pleaded with the court that he would like to see the affidavit, but did not use the Caliber font while writing it.

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Former Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Justice Rana Shamim’s lawyer argued that his client had stated that the affidavit was his private document and that his client had recorded the affidavit for his late wife.

He said his client did not leak the affidavit to the press nor did he give it to anyone. Latif Afridi said that his client also told journalist Ansar Abbasi that the affidavit was his personal document, how did he get it.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked where should we keep the original affidavit now? On which Rana Shamim’s lawyer said that this statement has been sent to the affidavit court.

Justice Minallah said that Shamim’s response that had been submitted in court earlier has placed the entire burden on journalist Ansar Abbasi.

“He [Shamim] also said that the document could have been leaked by the notary public,” the IHC CJ said, adding that this matter is not limited just to former CJP Nisar.

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“The affidavit has cast doubt on the court. It is a statement which everyone is considering the truth,” Justice Minallah said.

He asked Abbasi if he wants to say anything, to which Abbasi replied that he had a talk with Shamim before the news story’s publication.

“He [Shamim] may be unable to recall properly and is forgetting, but I have explained this in my story and I have his text message as well,” Abbasi said.

While presenting his arguments, the AGP said that Shamim has committed contempt of court.

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Without naming anyone, the AGP said: “It is being reported for the last three days that the affidavit was recorded in someone’s office.”

“Surprisingly, no statement of denial of [the reports] has been issued,” he said, moving the court to indict all the accused in the case.

At this, the court decided to frame charges against the ex-judge of GB and others on January 7, 2022.

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