In exclusive evidence available with this scribe, Rana Shamim, former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan, took the oath and signed an affidavit in the office of none other than Mian Nawaz Sharif, trying to incriminate former Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and honourable sitting judges of Islamabad High Court.
The affidavit, whose contents mention a three-year-old alleged incident, accused the former top judge of trying to coerce a judgment from a sitting Islamabad High Court judge against the ousted Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
In the evidence available, Charles Guthrie; a UK Solicitor confirmed that ‘Judge Guy’ was at ‘Marble Arch’.
The shady affidavit
Since the affidavit surfaced in one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers on November 15th, its authenticity has been in question. The journalist that published this investigative report has been called in for contempt of court. The hearing presided by Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court noted that the former Chief Justice Rana Shamim, by making the stated allegations, had “cast doubt on all judges at IHC”.
The court also noted: The silence of Rana Mohammad Shamim for more than three years, despite holding the highest judicial office of Gilgit Baltistan territory raises serious questions regarding his credibility. The timing of publication of the news report is crucial because it related to appeals which were fixed for hearing, observed the chief justice. (Crl. Org. No.309/2021)
On the orders of the court, the original affidavit was submitted a whole month after it was allegedly created. According to Rana Shamim’s statement before the IHC, he did not provide the copy or affidavit to the journalist who published the story and his affidavit was in a safe in London.
Not only has the affidavit and Justice Rana’s conduct drawn severe criticism, but it has also raised a series of other serious questions:
1. What made a former Judge sign an affidavit three years after his retirement?
2. Did he meet Nawaz Sharif during his visit to the City of London in the second week of November?
3. Why was his oath notarised in London and why in Hussan Nawaz’s Office?
4. Who is the potential beneficiary of this affidavit?
5. If it was a confidential paper, who leaked it (as enquired by the court) at such a politically sensitive time?
6. Does Nawaz have a pre-existing relationship with the judge?
7. Why is unveiling the affidavit at this time considered politically important in Pakistan from the Nawaz’s perspective?
Marble Arch - Stanhope House, PML-N roundhouse?
Stanhope Place, Marble arch was listed on Companies House records as one of the offices of Flagship Developments Limited, of which Hasan Nawaz Sharif is one of the directors and it has been the central meeting point of a lot of PML-N leadership in London with Mian Nawaz Sharif.
Stanhope House is where Nawaz Sharif’s important meetings are held and the place he held his last press conference before leaving for Pakistan and surrendering himself to the authorities. Following his release on medical grounds for four weeks – from which he hasn’t returned nearly two years later – he continues to make his party and public addresses from the same office. His meetings with public figures such as former Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former Afghan National Security Advisor and known Pakistan-Critic Hamdullah Mohib, other public figures, artists and journalists have been at the same venue.
Until now, Rana Shamim has never answered the question about his meeting with the PML-N supremo. On every single media encounter outside a court in Pakistan, he responded with “no comments”.
But, in the evidence available, Charles Guthrie himself confirms that the Judge was present in the Marble arch. These revelations are important at a time when contempt proceedings are underway in the Islamabad High court against a Pakistani newspaper that had published the contents of the affidavit in question.
Guthrie’s statements on this expose
In the evidence, Charles Guthrie has confirmed three times, that Rana Shamim was present at Marble Arch.
Guthrie stated in the evidence that “the judge guy was in Nawaz Sharif’s office.” When asked in the evidence “That was which office? Like here in London?”, Guthrie responded “Marble Arch.”
In the evidence, Guthrie was further asked: “He was in Nawaz Sharif’s office? They were like quite cozy when they were in there?”
To that, the notary replied “Very… yeah.”
In a sensational TV appearance, Rana Shamim’s son Rana Ahmed mentioned that before the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, his father met Nawaz Sharif in London. And on the second occasion in November, Rana Shamim visited London to notarise the affidavit but “the question” of his meeting with Nawaz Sharif was never answered.
‘That’s one of his mates, one of his friends’
In the evidence, Charles Guthrie also said: “That is one of his mates you know what I mean. When Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister “I will make you the head judge in Pakistan and that type of thing.” And if you've been the head judge, ruled over 10 to 15 years, so he was one of his friends”
Guthrie implied that Rana Shamim is a close friend of Nawaz Sharif. It is not a mere acquaintance but has a history of friendship of several years. According to Justice Rana Shamim’s son, the former Chief Justice had also served as Vice President of PML-N lawyers wing, Sindh.
The notary never read the contents
Another startling revelation that the Notary made was that he has never read the documents. In evidence available Charles Guthrie said: “You might be talking about. I haven't read them in enough detail these reports, but I knew it is something quite big to help Nawaz Sharif because I could just tell from the reaction of everybody around, I got called to do it. I couldn't. I was just too busy to actually read it and I just read it briefly but didn't read it properly. I have all copies on my phone.”
Evidence suggests that Charles Guthrie never read the affidavit in detail and that he was there just to notarise it, which he was called for. Charles Guthrie explained the nature of his job as Notary is to be an independent figure who verifies the identification and then attests the documents. The originality of any written content is not his responsibility. The evidence also suggests that when the affidavit was presented, he was not alone and was surrounded by people. According to Charles Guthrie, ‘people’s reaction around him’ clearly indicated that the content of the affidavit had a lot of value ‘that would help Nawaz Sharif’.
Several attempts have been made to contact Nawaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar, Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz for their version of the events, but there has been no response from any of them. Further developments are expected to unfold as court proceeds against the former Chief Justice in Islamabad.