—Journalists’ indictment deferred
—Adjourns proceedings till Feb 15
—Asks Shamim to submit written response
—Warns if news found to be published deliberately, action will be taken
By Asghar Ali Mubarak
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday indicted former Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) chief justice Rana Shamim on charges of contempt of court with regards to his affidavit case.
The IHC had initiated proceedings against Shamim and others after an affidavit was published in a national daily that accused former chief justice Saqib Nisar of influencing the case against former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.
On January 15, the IHC had summoned Shamim, bureau chief of a national daily Amir Ghauri and investigative reporter Ansar Abbasi on January 20 (yesterday) for indictment in the contempt of court case.
In today’s hearing, Rana Shamim, owner of the newspaper, Abbasi and Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan appeared before the court.
At the onset of the hearing, Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered to frame the charges first and then proceed with the rest.
According to the chargesheet, Rana Shamim had claimed that the affidavit was notarised, sealed and handed over to his grandson; however, the affidavit was received via a courier service.
The sheet added that the former CJ had alleged that the affidavit was leaked from a notary public, yet Rana Shamim did not initiate any action against notary public or Ansar Abbasi.
During the hearing, the judge told Shamim that he “tried to scandalise the court and influence a pending case.”
“All allegations against you have been read out in the open court. What do you have to say?” Rana Shamim was asked while being indicted.
Justice Minallah further asked Shamim if he admits to the charges framed against him. To this, the former G-B top judge admitted to certain charges but denied others.
Shamim made an impassioned plea in front of the judge and asked to be hanged if the court considered him guilty.
The chief justice stated that the published article was not related to Saqib Nisar but to the IHC.
“People are being told that the judges of this court were compromised,” the judge stated, adding that a case was fixed for a hearing two days after the news was published.
“We have nothing to hide and have nothing to do with Saqib Nisar or anyone else,” he said.
He further maintained that those related to the appeals for whom the affidavit was published had not brought it on record, stating that if there was a mistake the court should be informed and action will be taken.
The attorney general “humbly” requested for charges on Rana Shamim to be framed, while charges on others to be postponed.
To this, Rana Shamim requested for an impartial inquiry into the affidavit, claiming that he “did not say a word” about the court.
However, the IHC declared the request inadmissible and also dismissed Rana Shamim’s petition seeking the transfer of the attorney general as the prosecutor.
President of the IHC Journalists Association Saqib Bashir also appeared before the court and said that as per the opinion of the attorney general and judicial assistants, the criminal proceedings against the journalists should be postponed.
Subsequently, the court indicted the ex-GB CJ but postponed the indictment against others.