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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Monday, gave last chance to former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Rana Shamim to submit his reply in a contempt of court case against him.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case against Shamim and gave him three weeks’ time to file his response after a written application was submitted by his lawyer Latif Afridi advocate before the court seeking adjournment of the case on grounds of his (Afridi’s) illness.

The ex-GB judge’s application stated that the lawyer had not been able to submit a reply sought by the court about the affidavit on his client’s behalf as he was unwell and on bed rest.

When the court framed the charges against Shamim, it had also sought from him a written statement about his affidavit. But Shamim failed to comply with the directive at subsequent hearings. The application sought more time for the submission of the said statement.

During the hearing, Justice Minallah asked Shamim whether he had submitted the affidavit yet or not. At this, Rana sought another three weeks’ time to submit the affidavit. He added that he had given the affidavit to the lawyer and would submit it after he reviewed it.

The IHC chief justice remarked that you have served as a law officer, do not treat the court in this way. He also said that Shamim had made serious accusations in the affidavit that he could not defend. He warned that either he should move forward the process or the court would take action as the court had given him a fair chance.

Earlier, the court formally framed the charges against former chief judge of GB in the contempt of court case initiated against him after his controversial affidavit.

The bench had started the proceeding against Shamim, former Chief Judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan and others after publication of a news item claiming that Shamim executed an affidavit, in which, he levelled allegations against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

It noted that after the perusal of written replies submitted by the alleged contemnors, pursuant to orders, dated 13-12-2021 and 20-12-2021, the proceedings were fixed on 28-12-2021 in order to offer the alleged contemnors an opportunity of a preliminary hearing as required under section 17(3) of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003. The parties were heard at great length as is obvious from the order, dated 28-12-2021.

The bench further said that after extending extensive opportunity of hearing, the Court was, prima facie, satisfied that the interest of justice required to fix a date for framing of a charge in the open Court. It continued that for framing of charge, presence of the alleged contemnor is required. The charge was read out in the open Court to Shamim.

The latter did not plead guilty and further stated that he would be producing his defence. At this, the court directed to submit his affidavit.

The bench stated that the Court has already appointed amici curiae in order to ensure the transparency and fairness of the proceedings and the alleged contemnor, Shamim, shall be at liberty to lead his defence in accordance with his right to have a fair trial.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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