Monday, November 15, 2021
An ex-chief justice of the Gilgit-Baltistan apex court levelled serious allegations against former chief justice Saqib Nisar, stating in a notarized affidavit that he had been witness to then CJP Saqib Nisar’s direction to a high court judge not to release Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on bail at any cost before the 2018 general elections.
“Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif must remain in jail until the general elections are over. On assurances from the other side, he (Saqib Nisar) became calm and happily demanded another cup of tea,” this is what is said in the affidavit of the former top judge of GB talking about the then top judge of Pakistan.
According to the document, Shamim’s statement was given under oath before the Oath Commissioner on November 10, 2021. The affidavit, duly notarized, contains the signature of the ex-CJ of Gilgit Baltistan as well as an image of his NIC card. The notary public stamped the affidavit and recorded that it was “sworn under oath Before me” on Nov 10, 2021.
Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were convicted by an accountability court in a graft case before the July 25, 2018 general elections. Their lawyers had moved court for suspension of the conviction but the case after initial hearings was postponed till last week of July.
When approached on Sunday, Rana Shamim initially confirmed the content of the affidavit read to him on a WhatsApp call by this correspondent. Then he said that he could not hear this scribe clearly. He was called back immediately but his WhatsApp was found turned off. He also did not pick up regular calls, repeatedly made to him. Later, his mobile phone was also found turned off. After a break of a few hours, the former top judge of GB sent a mobile message to this correspondent from another number confirming the content of the statement.
Former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar when approached categorically denied that he had ever directed any of his subordinate judges in connection with any judicial order whether it pertained to Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz or anyone else.
Except for the editing of the name of the high court judge, the following is the content of Shamim’s statement on oath:
“I Justice Dr Rana Muhammad Shamim, former Chief Judge, Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit Baltistan (31 August 2015 to 30 Aug 2018) do hereby make the following statement under oath: -
1. In July 2018 while I was serving as the Chief Judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit Baltistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, came to Gilgit for vacations along with 27 family members and stayed in the guest house of the court.
2. That one evening when I, my late wife, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and his wife were taking tea on the lawn, I found the Chief Justice of Pakistan to be very disturbed and continuously talking on the phone to his registrar, directing him to go to the residence of Justice ------ of ------ and request him to immediately call him (the CJP).
3. That in case his call does not get through, then convey to him on his (Mian Saqib Nisar’s) behalf that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif must not be released on bail before the general elections at any cost.
4. That shortly afterwards he also spoke to Justice ------ directly and told him that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif must remain in jail until the general elections are over. On assurance from the other side he became calm and happily demanded another cup of tea.
5. I, as his colleague and host, requested him to spend his vacations with his family in Gilgit Baltistan and then asked him why he conveyed such a message to Justice ----- and for what. He said, “Rana Sahib you will never understand. You must treat it as if you never heard anything.” I told him in the presence of my late wife and his wife that Mian Nawaz Sharif has been falsely implicated and his sentence and that of Maryam Nawaz were both managed as was evident from his phone calls. He was initially disturbed to hear that but then relaxed again and said, “Rana Sahib the chemistry of Punjab is different from Gilgit Baltistan.”
6. That whatever is stated voluntarily herein above constitutes the complete truth.”
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry reacted to the report, describing it as a "shocking" one.
He regretted how some people are "running campaigns to prove Nawaz Sharif innocent", adding that it was hard to believe how a judge would issue such sensitive instructions in front of another person, while having tea.
"And even the prime minister is not an ordinary man' he is the prime minister," tweeted Chaudhry.
Without naming anyone, he directed people to refrain from "making up silly stories and conspiracy theories". He questioned how the former prime minister was able to buy the Avenfield Apartments flat.
"Maryam said, 'I don't have any property neither in London nor in Pakistan. Now, property worth billions of rupees has come to light. How did that happen?" he tweeted.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif reacted to the development, saying that "Allah has His own way of revealing the truth."
"Explosive news story by Ansar Abbasi peels off a thick layer of a grand scheme employed to target Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. Allah has His own way of revealing the truth," he wrote on Twitter.
"It’s yet another vindication of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam in the court of public opinion. Alhumdulillah!" he added.
Reacting to The News report, former chief justice Justice (retired) Saqib Nisar said the report is "contrary to the facts", adding that he would not respond to the "white lies" levelled against him by ex-GB chief justice Rana Shamim.
Nisar levelled allegations against Shamim, accusing him of asking for an extension as the chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan. Nisar added that he had denied him the extension.
"At one point in time, Rana Shamim also complained to me about not getting the extension," he said.
"It is not wise to respond to every lie," he added.
Originally published in The News