Why am I being singled out, asks former GB judge Rana Shamim
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday formally indicted former chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim in a case pertaining to the publication of an affidavit which alleged that the ex-chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar manipulated cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.
At the outset of today’s hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah rejected Rana Shamim’s plea about changing the prosecutor and framed contempt charges against him. The court, however, deferred the indictment of journalists in the case.
As the court resumed hearing, Justice Minallah directed Rana Shamim to come to the rostrum so that contempt charges could be framed against him. The ex-CJ GB pleaded with the court to wait for his counsel.
At this, the judge, expressing his annoyance, said that “the court has been disrespected a lot” and rejected his plea.
While reading out the charges against Rana Shamim, Justice Minallah said, “You recorded your affidavit in London. You said CJP Saqib Nisar arrived in Gilgit-Baltistan during vacations. According to you, the CJP had directed that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz should not be released from jail until the general elections are over. As per the affidavit, when you asked the CJP about his direction, he replied that the chemistry of Punjab and GB is different.”
"You tried to scandalise the court [...] and now that the charges have been framed against you in open court, what do you have to say?" the IHC CJ asked Shamim.
At this, the ex-judge asked Justice Minallah to hand him a copy of the document, which included the charges against him.
"Do you accept the charges or not," asked IHC CJ, to which Shamim said he accepted some charges and disagreed with some.
Justice Minallah told the ex-judge that he could submit in writing if he wanted to defend himself. Responding to the IHC CJ, Shamim said: "If you have decided [to indict me], then announce the punishment today [...], hang me if you want; why are you singling me out."
During the hearing, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan pleaded with the court that charges be framed against only Rana Shamim and deferred against the journalists named in the case.
Accepting his request, Justice Minallah temporarily deferred the indictment of the media persons in the case and warned, ”If it is found during the trial that they did this [published the news] deliberately then action will be taken against them."
Earlier, Journalist Association President Saqib Bashir appeared before the court and requested to defer the indictment of media persons in the case.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) former president Afzal Butt told the court that they were holding meetings for reporting and analyses about ongoing cases.
At this, Justice Minallah said that the court believes in accountability and welcomes it.
The AGP, amicus curiae Reema Omer, Nasir Zaidi, Faisal Siddiqui, The News' Editor Investigations Ansar Abbasi, and the publication's editor-in-chief and others were present during the hearing.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till February 15.