ISLAMABAD: Rana Shamim, ex-chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana today expressed ignorance about an affidavit attributed to him in which allegations of collusion were levelled against chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.
Rana Shamim, who personally appeared in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and he informed the court that he had not yet examined the leaked document.
GB’s former top judge made the remarks during the hearing on show-cause notices issued over an investigative report that highlighted Shamim’s accusation against Nisar of colluding to deny bails to top PML-N leadership before general elections 2018.
The report published on Nov 15 in The News by journalist Ansar Abbasi, quoted Shamim as saying in an alleged affidavit that he witnessed Nisar relaying instructions to a high court judge to not release the father-daughter duo in the corruption references against them.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had subsequently taken notice of the report and later issued show-cause notices to Abbasi, editor-in-chief of Jang Group Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, The News editor Aamir Ghouri as well as Shamim under the Contempt of Court Ordinance.
All four respondents were in the court but only Rehman, Ghouri and Abbasi had submitted their written responses.
At the outset of today’s hearing, Justice Minallah remarked that the case was related to “my court and its accountability”, adding, “along with media freedom, this case is also about the independence of the judiciary.”
Justice Minallah asked Shamim whether he had submitted his response, to which the latter replied that the court should ask his lawyer about it. He added that there had been a tragedy in his family and requested the court to schedule the next hearing after December 12.
However, the IHC chief justice gave Shamim seven days to submit his written response. Shamim was previously represented by his son Ahmed Hassan Rana, an advocate of the Supreme Court. However, he later changed his legal counsel to Latif Afridi.
“I have not yet seen my affidavit,” the ex-GB judge informed the court, referring to the document mentioned in the report carried by The News.
However, the report had said that Shamim confirmed the content of the affidavit both on a phone call with the correspondent, as well as a message.
When Justice Minallah asked what purpose Shamim’s affidavit would have served and whether he had given it to a newspaper, the former judge responded, “My affidavit is sealed in a locker in the UK. I don’t know how it was leaked.”
The IHC judge again pressed Shamim, asking him whether he had or hadn’t given the affidavit concerned to the newspaper. “You must have recorded the affidavit for some purpose. You will inform in the written response how the affidavit was revealed after three years.”
When Shamim requested the court to give him more time to submit his response on account of the chehlum of his brother and sister-in-law, the judge remarked, “This is also a serious matter. You should justify yourself.”
Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan, who was also present in today’s hearing, requested the court to direct Shamim to present the “original” affidavit in the IHC.
“Maybe his son leaked the affidavit,” he contended, referring to Ahmed.
Shamim responded that he had only one son who was usually present in Islamabad, reiterating that he had not seen the affidavit himself. At this, Justice Minallah directed Shamim to submit his affidavit in court.