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IHC directs ex-GB chief judge Rana Shamim to submit response with original affidavit

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IHC directs ex-GB chief judge Rana Shamim to submit response with original affidavit

"I do not know which affidavit was reported by media", former chief justice tells IHC

By Web Desk
November 30, 2021



Former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim. Photo: file


Former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim.


ISLAMABAD: Former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim on Tuesday told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the affidavit he had recorded before a UK magistrate was a sealed document, not meant to be viewed by the general public.

Shahmim's remarks came during the hearing of a case pertaining to a leaked audio tape allegedly involving former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar. A couple of weeks earlier, Shamim had alleged in a notarised affidavit that the then CJP had directed a high court judge to not release Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on bail at any cost before the 2018 general elections.

The allegations were published in a report in The News following which the IHC directed the ex-judge to submit his response.

The former GB chief told the court he does not know which affidavit was reported by the media.

During today’s hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who was leading the proceedings, said the judiciary's freedom was dependent on the freedom of the press. "However, there are some responsibilities that come with the freedom of the press," he noted.

The IHC chief justice then summoned Shamim to the rostrum and asked whether he had submitted a written response to the court regarding the case.

"My lawyer will tell you why I did not submit a written response," replied Shamim. "My brother's chehlum will be held in a few days. Please hold a hearing after that," he requested.

Justice Minallah told Shamim that he submitted an affidavit over an incident that allegedly occurred three years ago. "A newspaper carried the details of the affidavit for the public [to read]," noted the IHC CJ.

"I was contacted after my affidavit was published. I confirmed it," responded the former judge. "The affidavit was sealed, I don't know how it got leaked," he added.

"Did you not provide the affidavit to him [the reporter]?" asked Justice Minallah.
"No, I did not submit the affidavit for publication," replied the ex-judge.



‘You tried to shake the public's confidence in the judiciary’

Justice Minallah asked Shamim why he submitted the affidavit in London. "The court is granting you five days to submit your written response. You will have to tell us why you submitted an affidavit after a gap of three years," said Justice Minallah.

The IHC chief justice told Shamim that he "tried to shake the public's confidence in the judiciary", instructing the former judge to say whatever he wanted to in the written response.

"My brother and sister-in-law's chehlum will be held on December 5 and 12 respectively," Shamim told the IHC chief justice. "Please hold the hearing after that," he requested once more.

He said that if a hearing is held any sooner than that, then he will be unable to obtain the original affidavit.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan said that the court can direct Shamim to procure the affidavit through the embassy.

The attorney-general requested the court to delay action against the media, saying that its role was secondary in this case. He urged the court to direct Shamim to present his written response with the original affidavit in court.

At this, Shamim said he does not know which affidavit was reported by the media. "Let me have a look at the affidavit that was published first," he said.

At this, the attorney-general responded by saying: "The person who submitted the affidavit is unaware of its contents."
"If he does not know, then who prepared the affidavit?"

"This should be on record, that he [Rana Shamim] does not know what is written in the affidavit," stated the attorney-general. "The affidavit was submitted on November 10 and today, he says he does not know what is written in it."

"I do not believe in contempt of court," stressed Justice Minallah. "Judges should face criticism. However, please refrain from maligning this high court for the sake of political narratives," he added.

The IHC chief justice adjourned proceedings till December 7, directing Shamim to submit his written response with the original affidavit at the next hearing.

Justice Minallah asked the former judge to also submit a written response to the show-cause notice sent to him by the high court.
 

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IHC gives Rana Shamim last chance to submit affidavit

IHC gives Rana Shamim last chance to submit affidavit


INP
December 07, 2021

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday gave the last chance to former Gilgit Baltistan (GB) chief justice Rana Shamim to submit an original affidavit by December 13 in contempt of court case.

The hearing was conducted by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, in which former CJ FB, Rana Shamim, Ansar Abbasi, Aamir Ghauri and others appeared.

Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed and Advocate General Islamabad Niazullah Niazi also attended today court proceedings.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Minallah asked Rana Shamim why he has not submitted his response in the case yet? My advocate is on the way he will submit the response, replied Shamim.

Shamim failed to submit the original affidavit in the IHC in today hearing. The IHC CJ asked the counsel of Rana Shamim that his client has raised allegations over the court after three years. Why he is reluctant from submitting an affidavit in the case now, asked Justice Minallah.

He remarked that for the trial of the case it is necessary to submit the original affidavit in the court. What is compelling Shamim from submitting the document in the court, asked the IHC top judge.

The court has directed Rana Shamim to submit his original affidavit till December 13 and also warned of indicting him in the case if he fails to present the document.

Later, the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
 

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Rana Shamin's name placed on PNIL so 'he doesn't run away', says Sheikh Rashid

Dawn.com
December 8, 2021


Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addresses a ceremony in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV


Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addresses a ceremony in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Wednesday that the former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Mohammad Shamim’s name had been placed on the Provincial National Identification List (PNIL) — a 30-day temporary travel restriction introduced in 2018 as an alternative to the more tedious Exit Control List (ECL).

Addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, the interior minister said: "Rana Shamim has been placed on PNIL [...] so he doesn't run away."

Ahmed added there would be a meeting to deliberate his placement on the ECL as well.

The former GB judge is one of the central figures in case related to his affidavit in which he accused former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar of colluding to deny bails to top PML-N leadership before the 2018 general elections. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) is currently conducting hearings on the matter.

Earlier this week, Islamabad's advocate general had written a letter to the capital's chief commissioner to start the process for putting Shamim's name on the ECL. "The respondent alleged contemnor is a flight risk. Should he flee the country, serious prejudice may be caused to the ongoing proceedings and in effect to the rule of law and independence of judiciary," the letter had stated and requested immediate action.

The IHC on Monday had rejected a petition by Supreme Court advocate Rai Mohammad Nawaz Kharal that sought Shamim's placement on the ECL, saying it was the state's responsibility.
 

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Ex-GB judge Rana Shamim submits contentious affidavit in IHC more than a month after it was published

Tahir Naseer
December 20, 2021


Former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim arrives at the Islamabad High Court on Monday. — DawnNewsTV screengrab


Former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim arrives at the Islamabad High Court on Monday. — DawnNewsTV screengrab


Former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim on Monday submitted in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) his original affidavit — in which he reportedly accuses fellow former jurist Mian Saqib Nisar of collusion to deny bails to top PML-N leadership prior to the 2018 general elections — more than a month after the affidavit was mentioned in an investigative report in The News.

In the last hearing on December 13, the IHC had deferred the framing of charges in a contempt of court case against the ex-judge and three others and again directed Shamim to submit the original affidavit, having previously directed him to submit it in hearings on November 30 and December 7.

In a written order on December 10, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had warned that charges would be framed if the maker of the affidavit, Shamim, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Jang Group Mir Shakeelur Rehman, senior journalist Ansar Abbasi and resident editor Amer Ghouri failed to show it was executed and published for bona fide purpose.

Justice Minallah had issued the order after going through the reply submitted by Shamim in which he explained reasons for executing the statement on oath — dated November 10, 2021.

In the 'leaked' affidavit, on which Ansar Abbasi's report was based, Shamim allegedly stated that Nisar during his visit to GB made a call to an IHC judge and asked him to ensure that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are not released on bail before July 25, 2018 general elections. The affidavit was published as part of an investigative report by The News on Nov 15.

Justice Minallah had subsequently taken notice of the report and later issued show-cause notices to Abbasi, Rehman, Ghouri as well as Shamim under the Contempt of Court Ordinance.

During today's hearing, the additional attorney general informed the court that Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan was admitted in Aga Khan University Hospital and would return by Thursday.

Meanwhile, Lateef Afridi, Shamim's legal counsel, informed the court that the affidavit had been submitted to the IHC and the former judge has been "standing by his statement since the first day".

"The real affidavit was sealed and has now been brought to Pakistan on the court's order," he said.
Justice Minallah said the sealed envelope was in its original condition and had not been opened by the court yet.

"The attorney general had said the media's role is secondary. Rana Shamim has admitted that the content published in the newspaper (The News report) is [the same as] in his affidavit. Rana Shamim has cast doubt on all judges of the IHC," the chief justice said, adding that the court had already made it clear that it did not fear criticism.

Justice Minallah then turned to Shamim's counsel and asked him to open the envelope, upon which the counsel said that a new inquiry could be started by opening a sealed envelope.

"This is an open inquiry. This is our accountability," the judge said. He added that Shamim had apparently made "a very big statement without any evidence" and given an impression that all IHC judges were "compromised".

Afridi said his client maintained that he did not "leak" the affidavit.

"Can a finger be pointed at any judge of this court? The court will not ask the journalist about the source of his news. This court is hearing many important cases related to fundamental rights," Justice Minallah remarked.

The judge called for evidence to be presented regarding the public opinion that was being built, saying the public's trust in the court should not be eroded.

"This court will not deviate from the law," Justice Minallah remarked. He added that the next hearing would be held on Thursday. However, Afridi said he would not be able to attend the hearing on that date.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) secretary general Nasir Zaidi, who is an amicus curiae in the case, told the IHC that freedom of expression could not be considered contempt of court.

Justice Minallah observed that freedom of expression was one of the most important fundamental rights — which the court had also mentioned in its judgements — but the situation was different when freedom of expression was not in the public interest.

Subsequently, Afridi requested the court to adjourn the hearing until after winter vacations were over.

However, Justice Minallah observed that the IHC had not issued any notification about vacations.

The hearing was adjourned till December 28.
 

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IHC summons Rana Shamim, others for indictment on Jan 20

It appears the journalists involved are unaware of the rules of pending cases, observes Justice Athar Minallah


Saqib Bashir
January 15, 2022


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday summoned former Gilgit-Baltistan top judge Rana Shamim, editor-in-chief of a national daily Amir Ghauri and investigative reporter Ansar Abbasi on January 20 for indictment in the contempt of court case.

The high court had initiated proceedings against Shamim and others after an affidavit was published in the newspaper that accused former chief justice Saqib Nisar of influencing the case against ex-PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued written order of hearing of the case which took place on January 7.

The written order stated that the opinion of the reporter, editor and chief editor is important as they say that they have done nothing wrong but it appears that they are unaware of the rules of pending cases.

IHC CJ Athar Minallah said that the alleged contempt of court accused have been given sufficient time but it seems that they are unaware of their responsibilities about cases that are under trial.

The order stated that opinions of organisations are being published about a subjudice contempt of court case.

The top judge, in the written order, further stated that it appeared that no legal opinion was obtained regarding the status of Rana Shamim's document.


The shady affidavit

Since the affidavit surfaced in one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers on November 15, its authenticity has been in question. The journalist that published this investigative report has been called in for contempt of court.

An earlier hearing presided by Justice Minallah noted that Rana Shamim, by making the stated allegations, had “cast doubt on all judges at IHC”.

The court also noted: “The silence of Rana Mohammad Shamim for more than three years, despite holding the highest judicial office of Gilgit-Baltistan territory raises serious questions regarding his credibility. The timing of publication of the news report is crucial because it related to appeals which were fixed for hearing, observed the chief justice. (Crl. Org. No.309/2021)”

On the orders of the court, the original affidavit was submitted a whole month after it was allegedly created. According to Rana Shamim’s statement before the IHC, he did not provide the copy or affidavit to the journalist who published the story and his affidavit was in a safe in London.
 

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IHC indicts ex-GB judge Rana Shamim in affidavit case

Tahir Naseer
January 20, 2022


1642688618365.png


Former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim arrives at the Islamabad High Court. — DawnNewsTV

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday indicted former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamim in a contempt of court case but deferred the framing of charges against the media personnel also named in the case, including journalist Ansar Abbasi and Jang Group owner Mir Shakeelur Rehman.

The contempt case stemmed from a news report published in The News International last year that highlighted Shamim's affidavit in which he accused former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar of instructing a high court judge to keep PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz incarcerated until 2018 general elections.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had taken notice of the report and subsequently initiated contempt proceedings as Nawaz and Maryam's case was being heard in the Islamabad High Court. Apart from Shamim, the story's author Abbasi, Rehman and The News editor Aamir Ghauri were also named in the case.

Shamim, Abbasi and amicus curiae Nasir Zaidi, a representative of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, were in the court today.

As the court proceedings began, Justice Minallah said that charges would be framed first before everything else. The session was briefly adjourned as Shamim requested the court to wait until his counsel, Abdul Latif Afridi, arrived.

Shamim informed the court that he had filed two new petitions to which he was given the same answer that they would be looked into once charges were framed.

The IHC chief justice said the court had been disrespected and questioned whether anyone had any issue with the high court.

"A perception is being created specifically regarding on this court. What sort of perception is this that the judges of this court are compromised?" the judge pondered.

Justice Minallah said the court could not give a license for anyone to disrespect it. "[It is] not even realised that there was an attempt to influence a case [that was being heard in court]. This court believes in open accountability and welcomes it. Has there been any order from July 2018 till now on which this perception [of judges being compromised] fits?

"The article is not related to Saqib Nisar but it has to do with this court. People have been told the judges of this court are compromised. A case was fixed for hearing two days later when the story was published," Justice Minallah said.

He added that if there was any mistake then the court should be informed so action could be taken.

Zaidi sought permission to address the court but was denied, with the judge saying: "There is no need for you to say anything. We've already said that their (media's) role is secondary."

The judge did question the publishing policy of the newspaper that carried the story of Shamim's affidavit. "What would happen if tomorrow any third party gives a paper and we print it? If such a big newspaper says that they had not taken any legal opinion in this regard then that will be injustice," he remarked.

Zaidi said a lot had been learned from the case's proceedings and acknowledged that care should be taken while covering such stories. "We faced military courts and today we are facing an independent judiciary," he said.

The amicus curiae said that initiating contempt of court proceedings would send a "wrong message" to the rest of the world when the court was itself in the favour of freedom of expression.

"This is a learning process for us [as well]. If there is no freedom of expression then there will be no independent judiciary," the judge replied to Zaidi.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan requested the court that charges be framed against only Shamim and deferred against the other three. He advised the court to drop charges against the three media personnel if they even agree with Zaidi's remarks.

Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, also an amicus curiae in the case, took the rostrum and appreciated Zaidi's remarks, saying that other media personnel should follow suit and issue a statement that they will be more careful in the future.

"The way this case is being reported in the media is also against subjudice rule," Siddiqui said, to which the judge responded that it could have "dangerous consequences" if it was proven that it was done deliberately.

Shamim's request for inquiry, prosecutor's removal denied
The chief justice addressed Shamim and asked if he had heard any contempt cases himself during his tenure as a judge. Shamim responded in the negative, saying he had neither heard such cases and nor believed in the concept of contempt.

At this point, Justice Minallah gave Shamim the opportunity to present the arguments made in his petitions. Shamim said that in the first petition he requested that a fact-finding inquiry be conducted into the case instead of framing the charges. In the other petition, he requested for the attorney general to be removed as the prosecutor.

He also said it was important for the requirements of justice that Nisar's reply was also made part of the inquiry and cross-examined. "This will not be a case of criminal contempt unless the facts stated in the affidavit are proven wrong," he argued.

The court proceeded to reject Shamim's petitions and indicted him.

Reading out the charge sheet, Justice Minallah noted that Shamim had recorded an affidavit in England in which he claimed that former CJP Nisar had gone to Gilgit-Baltistan on vacations. "According to you he instructed that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz should not be released before the [general] election [2018]," the judge said.

The IHC judge asked Shamim if he had heard the charges and accepted them, to which the latter replied that some things in them were "agreeable" while others were not.

At this, Justice Minallah asked Shamim if he was admitting his mistake. Shamim replied that he was not.

Media personnel's part to be revisited later
The former GB judge questioned whether he was the only one who was indicted, to which Justice Minallah said: "We will see the rest [later]. Submit your written response and your affidavit."

Shamim said if the court had already made up its mind then he should be sentenced today, adding that "injustice should not be committed against me like this."

Meanwhile, the IHC decided to not frame charges against the journalists today, noting that the matter was "temporarily deferred".

"If it is found during the trial that the news was published deliberately [to cast aspersion on judges] then action will be taken," Justice Minallah noted.

The case was adjourned till February 15.

Later, Shamim expressed ignorance when a reporter asked him outside the court that who had leaked the affidavit attributed to him.

"How will I know [who leaked the affidavit]. This is what I am asking the court," Shamim said while speaking to media persons. "My query before the court is that whoever has leaked this (the affidavit) should be questioned."

Asked whether he told Ansar Abbasi that the affidavit was a privileged document when the journalist approached him for his stance on the matter, Shamim replied: "I told him."

"I told him," he repeated and added after a pause, "that until I am shown the affidavit, I cannot say anything".

To a question seeking confirmation whether he had signed the affidavit in PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's office, the former judge replied, "Don't talk nonsense."
 

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