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Talking about former CJP or retired judges does not amount to contempt of court: IHC

  • Chief Justice Athar Minallah throws out petition seeking contempt proceedings against PML-N leaders
Updated 26 Nov 2021

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has said that remarks about retired officials, even former chief justice, did not warrant contempt of court charges.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said this during a hearing on Friday regarding a petition seeking contempt proceedings against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for trying to insult the judiciary.

During the hearing, Justice Minallah said that whoever was on the receiving end of criticism (former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar) could himself file a defamation case if he wanted to. The high court chief justice further said that judges were open-minded and they should welcome criticism, according to reports.

Later, the court threw out the petition, saying that a judge who ceased to hold a judicial office acquires the status of a private citizen.

Accusations against ex-CJP: IHC issues notices

Last week, former chief judge of Gilgit Appellate Court Rana Shamim had levelled allegations against Nisar, saying that "Nisar directed not to release Nawaz, Maryam before 2018 elections”.

A story published in The News stated that in 2018 Nisar influenced judicial proceedings to prolong the detention of former prime minister Nawaz and Maryam following their conviction in the Avenfield apartments reference. As per the alleged affidavit, Shamim claims 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”.

IHC issues show-cause notices to ex-GB judge, others

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.”

Following this revelation, PML-N leader Abbasi had demanded that a suo motu notice be taken of the matter. "If Mian Nawaz Sharif can go to jail, why can't Mian Saqib Nisar?"

The PML-N leader added that if Shamim is lying, then he should be given stringent punishment, but if he is speaking the truth, then Nisar's should be sent to jail.

CJP Saqib Nisar rubbishes allegations

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.

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