ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Monday, took notice of allegations levelled by former chief judge of Gilgit Appellate Court Rana M Shamim against former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar and issued contempt of court notices to the respondents.
Former chief justice Nisar has rejected the allegations of the former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan. He, on telephone, told media persons that the accusations levelled against him were “contrary to the facts”; therefore, he did not want to respond to the “plain lies” of the ex-GB chief justice.
The ex-CJP said Shamim had asked him for an extension but he did not accept his request, adding that the ex-GB CJ had also complained to him about the same.
The former CJP was responding to a story published in a local newspaper, which stated that Nawaz and Maryam were kept in jail till the general elections in 2018 on the orders of Nisar.
The IHC chief justice heard the matter and issued contempt of court notices to Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, editor-in-chief, Aamir Ghouri, editor, and Ansar Abbasi of “The News International of the Jang Group of Newspapers”.
The court also issued notices to Rana Mohammad Shamim, former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and directed all of them to appear before the court in person on Tuesday (today).
It also directed the respondents “to explain why proceedings under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, may not be initiated against them read with Article 204 of the Constitution.”
Besides this, the court issued notices to the attorney general for Pakistan and the advocate general, Islamabad Capital Territory.
The IHC bench stated in its order that the Registrar has drawn his attention to a news item published in “The News” on November 15, 2021, titled, “Saqib Nisar directed not to release Nawaz, Maryam before 2018 elections” and the news item has been reported by Ansar Abbasi.
It added that the news item is regarding pending appeals, which are fixed for hearing before a learned Division Bench of this Court on 17-11-2021. The news item refers to some affidavit executed under oath by a former Chief Justice of the Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan, Rana M Shamim.
The court order said that it has been reported that the latter claims that he was a witness to a telephonic conversation by Justice (retired) Saqib Nisar, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, whereby, the latter had purportedly directed a judge of this Court “not to release Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on bail at any cost before the 2018 general elections”. The report has also stated that Rana Mohammad Shamim confirmed executing such an affidavit when he was contacted.
The IHC bench noted that trial outside a court in any form, which tends to influence the proceedings and determination in a pending matter attracts the offence of criminal contempt.
“The report published in “The News”, prima facie, tends to influence the proceedings and determination in a pending matter and having the effect of obstructing the administration of justice and/or to divert the cause of justice because no such affidavit forms part of the judicial record,” said the order.
It continued, “The publishing of reports during the pendency of a matter are the most serious form of contempt. Likewise, the aforementioned published report, prima facie, amounts to prejudicing public confidence in the administration of justice in a pending matter besides scandalizing this Court.”
The IHC chief justice also noted, “Maintaining integrity of the administration of justice is in the public interest. The aforementioned publication, prima facie, appears to undermine public confidence in the impartiality and independence of this Court and its honourable judges. Safeguarding the dignity and decorum of this court and the administration of justice is inevitable for upholding the rule of law and to ensure that disputes are decided in a fair and uninfluenced manner.”
According to the alleged affidavit, Shamim claims the ex-CJP Saqib Nasir had travelled to GB for vacations in 2018 and on one occasion appeared “very disturbed”, while speaking to his registrar on the phone, asking him to get in touch with a high court judge.
Shamim said that Nisar was finally able to get in touch with the judge and told him that Nawaz and Maryam must remain in jail until elections are over, after which “he became calm and happily demanded another cup of tea”.
According to the document, Shamim said he told Nisar that Nawaz had been falsely implicated, to which the former CJP replied: “Rana Sahib the chemistry of Punjab is different from GB.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021