Former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan on Tuesday told the Islamabad High Court that he had not seen his affidavit, which was used to level serious allegations against ex-chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, as he was unaware of the contents of the one submitted to the court.
As IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up contempt of court proceedings, the ex-GB judge, Justice (retd) Rana Shamim, was told to submit a response to a show-cause notice along with the original affidavit within four days.
However, Shamim requested the court to give him time till December 12, saying he had not seen the affidavit yet as it was sealed.
His statement took the IHC CJ by surprise, who asked if he had not seen his own affidavit.
The former judge responded that he had not seen the one submitted to the court.
Shamim added that he had no idea how the affidavit was leaked because he had not provided its copy to anyone.
The IHC CJ said there must be some reason that he had filed the affidavit in London, adding that he must mention that in his written response to the court.
Justice Minallah also asked Shamim to write in his response if it was actually his affidavit that was reported.
According to the IHC chief justice, the remarks made by Shamim in his affidavit had damaged the credibility of judges across the country.
“This is a serious contempt of court,” he added.
Justice Minallah noted that in the past, the judiciary had tried to restore people’s confidence in the institution.
During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan said it was the first time that Shamim had denied providing a copy of his affidavit to anybody.
The AGP also wondered how Shamim could not remember the contents of the affidavit which was signed on November 10.
According to the AGP, the role of media was secondary in this episode as the primary responsibility rested with Shamim.
“He, therefore, should be asked to produce the original affidavit.”
Khalid also requested the court to make it a part of the record that Shamim had expressed “ignorance about the contents of the affidavit.”
The AGP said a serious campaign was being run to malign the judiciary, adding that the person whose affidavit was being reported did not even know its contents.
In response to Shamim's reply, Justice Minallah observed that his response had further complicated the matter.
The IHC CJ directed Shamim to submit both his response as well as the affidavit within four days and adjourned the hearing till December 7.
Shamim, however, responded that the affidavit was in London and it was not possible for him to produce it by December 7. The AGP chipped in saying that the government would ask the Foreign Office to process his documents to facilitate their arrival on time.
Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman -- whose English daily had published the controversial report on the affidavit – as well as Resident Editor Amir Ghauri and senior investigative reporter Ansar Abbasi were also present during the hearing.
Rehman told the court that his newspaper had “always struggled for the supremacy of [the] constitution and rule of law”.
He added that he had complete faith in the judiciary, requesting the court to withdraw the show-cause notice.
Faisal Siddiqui, the amicus curiae, advised the court to continue contempt of courts proceedings against the accused.
The IHC CJ also sought copies of the replies to the show-cause notices submitted to the amici curiae.
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