ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the former chief judge of the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Rana Mohammad Shamim to submit a written reply along with his original affidavit within four days.
A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, on Tuesday, heard the case, in which the court had already issued show-cause notices to Shakilur Rehman, Editor in Chief, Aamir Ghouri, Editor, Ansar Abbasi reporter, and Rana Mohammad Shamim, former chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan after publication of a news item claiming that Rana Shamim executed an affidavit, in which he levelled allegations against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.
During the hearing, Shamim Rana (the alleged contemnor) appeared before the bench in person and requested for an adjournment to enable him to submit his reply to the show-cause notice.
In response to the court queries, he stated that his response was obtained by the “News International” after publication of the news report. He further stated that he had not provided copy of any document because the document executed by him was sealed and kept in a locker in the United Kingdom.
The court observed that it appeared that he was not sure regarding the contents of the purported affidavit or document, as the case may be. However, Rana Shamim unequivocally stated that the document/affidavit kept sealed in a locker was not shared with anyone.
Justice Minallah noted that the show cause notice has been issued and received by Rana Shamim.
“The latter is, therefore, directed to submit his written reply within four days along with the original document/affidavit, which is stated to be sealed and kept in a locker in the United Kingdom,” said the IHC CJ.
He directed the attorney general for Pakistan to coordinate with Shamim in order to facilitate him in delivery of the document/ affidavit from the United Kingdom.
The bench further said, “The secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan High Commission in the United Kingdom are also directed to assist the learned attorney general in this regard.”
“In case the original document/affidavit, on the basis of which the news report was published, is not produced before this Court on the date fixed then it would raise a presumption of its non-existence,” maintained Justice Minallah.
The court directed the office to provide copies of replies submitted by the alleged contemnors to the amici curiae, and deferred the hearing till December 7 for further proceedings in this matter.
A media report was published about an affidavit of Justice Shamim wherein it was claimed that former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had asked an IHC judge to delay grant of bail to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. Upon that, the IHC bench issued the show cause notices under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.
The court directed the alleged contemnors to submit their respective replies within seven days, while the alleged contemnors were directed to appear in person on November 26.
The court also said in its order, “Keeping in view the importance of the questions raised in the petition in hand, it would be appropriate to appoint amici curiae for assistance. The Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council, the President, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Faisal Siddiqui, ASC and Ms Reema Omer are appointed as amici curiae. The Attorney General for Pakistan or the Advocate General, Islamabad Capital Territory, as the case may be shall prosecute the alleged contemnors.” Justice Minallah said, “The news report and the purported affidavit have cast scandalous aspersions on the integrity, independence and impartiality of the Court and its judges.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021