Tuesday, December 28, 2021

IHC to indict Rana Shamim, co-accused in affidavit case on January 7

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah says affidavit drafted by Rana Shamim casts doubt

A file photo of the Islamabad High Court
A file photo of the Islamabad High Court
  • Court directs Shamim to unseal envelope containing his affidavit.
  • Attorney general of Pakistan moves court to indict all the accused in the case.
  • IHC decides to frame charges against the ex-judge of GB and others on January 7, 2022.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) decided on Tuesday to indict on January 7 former Gilgi-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim and others accused in a contempt of court case, pertaining to the publication of an affidavit containing serious allegations against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

Shamim had drafted the affidavit, accusing the former top judge of Pakistan of judicial manipulation.

The latest development in the case came during a hearing headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday. The court announced January 7, 2022, as the date for indictment of the accused.

"Why shouldn't the court decide to indict him in the contempt case?" IHC CJ Minallah asked during the hearing.

Shamim, The News reporter Ansar Abbasi, and others appeared before the court.

At the outset of the hearing, the sealed envelope containing Shamim's affidavit, which was received by the IHC last week, was presented in court.

Attorney-General of Pakistan (AJP) Khalid Javed Khan said that Shamim has to inform the court before whom he notarised his affidavit and who leaked it.

"The one who drafted the affidavit should open it," the AJP said.

The court then directed Shamim's counsel, Lateef Afridi, to open the envelope.

"The court wants the envelope to be opened in your presence and for you to see what is inside yourself," the IHC CJ remarked.

Afridi said that he will not open the affidavit.

"It had been sought by the court, therefore, it must unseal it," Afridi said.

"We received this [envelope] through courier but we never knew what it contained," Justice Minallah said.

Read more: IHC receives sealed envelope containing Rana Shamim's affidavit

"Your client [Shamim] had it sent [from London] through a courier service so then why are you hesitating to open it," he asked.

The court directed Shamim to unseal the envelope after which the sealed envelope was handed over to the former GB judge.

Shamim said that he confirmed that it was his affidavit which he had personally sealed. However, he said, "the courier service didn't seal the affidavit but the envelope in which the sealed affidavit was put [to be sent]".

Justice Minallah said that Shamim's response that had been submitted in court earlier has placed the entire burden on journalist Ansar Abbasi.

"He [Shamim] also said that the document could have been leaked by the notary public," the IHC CJ said, adding that this matter is not limited just to former CJP Nisar.

"The affidavit has cast doubt on the court. It is a statement which everyone is considering the truth," Justice Minallah said.

He asked Abbasi if he wants to say anything, to which Abbasi replied that he had a talk with Shamim before the news story's publication.

"He [Shamim] may be unable to recall properly and is forgetting, but I have explained this in my story and I have his text message as well," Abbasi said.

While presenting his arguments, the AGP said that Shamim has committed contempt of court.

Without naming anyone, the AGP said: "It is being reported for the last three days that the affidavit was recorded in someone's office."

"Surprisingly, no statement of denial of [the reports] has been issued," he said, moving the court to indict all the accused in the case.

At this, the court decided to frame charges against the ex-judge of GB and others on January 7, 2022.