IHC warns Rana Shamim
of indictment if not submit
original affidavit by Monday


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) warned ex-chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim to submit his original affidavit in court by Monday or he will be indicted in a contempt of court case.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah held a hearing related to an affidavit submitted by Shamim, who had levelled serious allegations of judicial manipulation by ex-chief justice Saqib Nisar. He said there will be consequences if Rana Shamim had not given the affidavit for publication and had made it for any other purpose.

“No one can approach the judges of this court,” said Justice Minallah, adding that permission won’t be given to erode public confidence in courts.

No independent judge can give an excuse that there was any pressure on him, he added.

Justice Minallah said that the allegations levelled by Rana Shamim were not against the former chief justice of Pakistan, rather, they were against a judge of the IHC.

Rana Shamim and IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah

Meanwhile, the IHC granted an exemption to the Jang Group editor-in-chief from appearing in-person in a contempt of court case relating to an investigative report published in The News about Rana Shamim’s affidavit.

IHC CJ Athar Minallah said that the court has to keep in mind the prevalent international standards of journalism. “What is the responsibility of key officers in an organisation when it comes to publishing news?” the IHC chief justice asked.

Responding to the query, the court’s assistant, Faisal Siddique, said that the affidavit was not for publication as it was a private document.

He told the court that ex-CJ Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim was of the view that he had been contacted after publication of the article. However, the report’s author had said that he had approached the former judge before publication, Siddique said.

Affidavit is in London and sealed

On December 1, the IHC had directed former chief judge Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Muhammad Shamim to submit by December 7 the original copy of an affidavit wherein he leveled allegations against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

Justice Minallah, while hearing the case, had observed that his court is mindful of freedom of press and its independence is based on freedom of press, but there were some responsibilities on the press as well.

Attorney-General Khalid Javed had told the court that the role of media in this particular issue was secondary, adding that the whole responsibility rests on Rana Muhammad Shamim and he should bring the original copy of the affidavit and, thereafter, should be proceeded against as per law. He had submitted that the court should proceed collectively against Rana Muhammad Shamim as well as the media which published his affidavit.

Shamim submits written response

In his written response submitted to the court — dated Dec 4 — Shamim said he had not circulated his affidavit to the press or shared it with anyone.

“The only compelling force behind executing this statement in the form of an affidavit was a promise with my late wife before her death that I must get this fact [produced] in writing and preserve the same to get the record straight […] Had there been any intention of ridiculing the judiciary, the same would have been tendered in Pakistan and released to various media outlets,” the response, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated.

The ex-judge said that he stayed in London for two days on his way back from the United States where he met his maternal grandson who is a law student. “Since I had no intention of making it public in Pakistan during my lifetime, I deemed it appropriate to the get the statement recorded and notarised outside Pakistan and also to be kept in safe custody outside Pakistan.”

After getting the affidavit notarised, Shamim had handed it to his grandson, instructing him to neither open it himself nor share with anyone else, according to the response.

Rana Shamim coming to appear in Islamabad High Court on Tuesday.

Shamim said he had “no clue or knowledge” how the reporter (Abbasi) got the affidavit. The talk between Shamim and ex-CJP Nisar took place in Gilgit, which “is an area outside the territory of Pakistan, as such the answering respondent cannot be made subject to contempt proceedings”, according to the response.

Shamim stated that the affidavit was based on the conversation he heard in GB and no malafide intention could be attributed to him unless it was proved his statement was false.

Shamim said he was “ready to state the facts mentioned in statement on solemn oath […] and confront the person mentioned in the affidavit, ie, the former chief justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar”.

He also attached a copy of the affidavit that he said was circulating on social media, the “contents of which are the same as acknowledged by [me]”.

Shamim said he “felt no hesitation in expressing [my] regrets” if the affidavit has “caused any annoyance” to the court.

Exit Control List

Meanwhile, the advocate general of Islamabad wrote a letter to the capital’s chief commissioner to start the process for putting Shamim’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

“Rana Mohammad Shamim is facing contempt proceedings before the Honourable Islamabad High Court […] 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 stated and requested immediate action.