IHC says it is open inquiry not contempt proceeding


Rana Shamim case: IHC says it is open inquiry not contempt proceeding

ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim submitted his original affidavit to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday.

Shamim, in his original affidavit, has accused former SC chief justice Saqib Nisar of denying bails to PMLN leaders during the 2018 general elections. He claimed that three years ago, Saqib Nisar ordered the subordinate court to delay the release of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz until after the 2018 general elections. The contents of the alleged affidavit were published in The News.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah is hearing the contempt case. The additional attorney general informed the court that Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan is admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital and would return by Thursday.

Meanwhile, Latif Afridi, Shamim’s counsel, informed the court that the original affidavit has been submitted to the IHC. “The real affidavit was sealed and has now been brought to Pakistan on the court orders,” he said.

Justice Athar Minallah told Shamim that the court wants him to open his own sealed envelope. “Rana Shamim has admitted that the content published in the newspaper is the same as in his affidavit. Shamim has cast doubt on all judges of the IHC,” the chief justice added.

Latif Afridi said a new inquiry will be launched. “This is an open inquiry not a contempt proceeding. 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 IHC fixed December 28 for the preliminary hearing of the contempt case and decided to seal the affidavit, which will be opened at the next hearing in the presence of the attorney general.

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