Sunday January 23, 2022

Ex-CJ GB’s affidavit: Govt, PML-N present claims, counter-claims

November 16, 2021

ISLAMABAD: After coming to the fore of an affidavit, submitted by former top judge of the Gilgit-Baltistan appellate court Rana Shamim, the ruling PTI and the main opposition party PMLN leadership issued fiery statements against each other and demanded a thorough investigation into the matter.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders alleged the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz had hatched a conspiracy against the judicial system of the country and made the former judge to submit the affidavit, warning that it would have to face its consequences.

However, the PMLN leaders said the plot made against the elected representatives had compromised the independence of the judiciary. Prime Minister Imran Khan said the PML-N was "digging its own grave" by getting involved in the case where Rana Shamim has levelled allegations against Saqib Nisar, sources informed Geo News Monday.

The prime minister’s comments came during a meeting with the PTI-led government’s coalition partners, where the matter came under discussion, sources said.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Monday attacking judiciary, hurling accusations at judges and making videos to blackmail them was the despicable history of the PMLN. Briefing the media about the meeting of coalition partners with Prime Minister Imran Khan here, he said indeed a strange joke was being circulated in the country about a judge, who claimed that when he was having tea with former chief justice Saqib Nisar, the CJP abruptly picked up phone and instructed a high court judge not to grant Nawaz Sharif bail before the elections [General Elections 2018].

He said editorial check in media was imperative and without confirmation or counter check, the publication (of unauthentic) news should be avoided in a newspaper. Surprisingly, the newspapers did not check that the judge being mentioned in the story was not part of the bench, he added.

Deploring irresponsible attitude, he said a newspaper exhibited irresponsibility by flashing the news by mentioning the name of a judge in the headline. He said the government welcomed the suo moto notice taken by Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on the issue.

He said the press conference of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PMLN senior leader Khwaja Asif, after the IHC CJ’s suo moto notice, was an attempt to scandalise the judiciary.

There was no need to hold press conference after the suo moto notice, he added. He urged the IHC to summon both Shahid Khaqan and Kh Asif during the suo moto proceedings. The coalition partners of PTI including Meanwhile, during the National Assembly proceedings, Minister for Communication Murad Saeed said the PMLN had launched attack on judiciary as it had been doing in the past. “This is history of PMLN that they attacked Supreme Court of Pakistan in the past and they do so whenever they do not get decisions in their favour,” Murad said.

Responding to the speech of Kh Asif, the minister said the PMLN leaders could not provide money trail of billions of rupees and they always want judges like Justice Qayyum. He asked the opposition not to plead cases of personalities in the Parliament rather they should talk about public issues. “The only identity of Nawaz Sharif is that he looted the national exchequer and his slogans are to mint money from development projects,” he added.

He said now Nawaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar and his son-in-law were absconders and the PMLN supremo was not ready to return to the country even after many developments had taken place in the country.

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said Kh Asif was suggesting that politicians should take care of each other, but maintained that the prime minister had put an end to politics of compromises. “Imran Khan came to power to put an end to such compromises in politics,” he added.

He pointed out that the PMLN leadership was used to have judges who would consult them before writing down verdicts. Separately, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said on Monday that the PMLN was in the habit of making false statements and cheating everyone. It has the history of influencing judiciary. However, their dirty old tactics would no longer work this time as Pakistani judiciary was independent.

The notary attested medical report of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has also attested the statement of Rana Shamim, he said adding that the verdict on the appeals of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz was due soon.

He said Sharif family tried to defame the judges of Islamabad High Court which was tantamount to attacking judiciary.

He expressed his surprise that another video of ex-judge Arshad Malik, made by Nasir Butt and others, has not yet been submitted in any court as evidence.

Also, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill Monday said that PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif would not be able to get theft, money-laundering and corruption stains out through cheap political tactics.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar, in a tweet, said, “A Rana Sahib from Sahiwal was appointed as the Chief Judge of Gilgit by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2015 and Rana while returning the favour, today made a statement in favour of fugitive convict Nawaz Sharif which came two days before the High Court hearing of Batia’s [daughter Maryam Nawaz] appeal. Hidden on the front page. Wow politics.”

In response to the statement of the Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, he said incompetent league always needed propaganda to stay in the news.

He said: “Chhotay Mian [Younger Mian] deserved Oscar Award over his ‘dramabazi’ [dramatisation] and showmanship”.

He said moral character of Shehbaz could be judged from the fact that he used to dictate judgments to Justice Abdul Qayyum on phone.

Gill said the nation had no hope of truth from such certified liars. “Once again, Time has come again to say ‘Mujay Kiyun Nikla?’ [Why I was expelled?],” he added.

However, the PMLN leaders said on Monday the revelations made by former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) had raised questions about the credibility of 2018 general elections and constitutional institutions.

PMLN President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that conspiracy behind the attack on Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz had been exposed.

Reacting to the news about former chief justice Gilgit Baltistan, Shehbaz said in a statement that explosive news story peels off a thick layer of a grand scheme employed to target party supremo Nawaz Sharif and vice president Maryam Nawaz.

Addressing a press conference, former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the issued did not confine only to conviction of a person rather than Chief Justice of Pakistan directly interfered in the results of general elections and stole the polls. “If a personality of such level involves himself in this way, then what kind of justice will remain there and what will happen with the Constitution and trust of people in institutions,” he said.

The PMLN parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, Kh Muhammad Asif, said that judiciary at the highest level was compromised and the only remedy was that a new assembly should form the new government.

Shahid Khaqan said it was right of the people of the country to know the truth about disclosure made by ex chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan. “Only three people including ex-chief justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, ex-chief judge of GB, Rana Shamim, and a sitting judge of Islamabad High Court know facts,” he said.

He said that it needed to be probed as to why the then CJP interfered in the 2018 elections. He said if there any forum to take notice of the direct involvement of chief justice of apex court and a judge of the Islamabad High Court. “This is root-cause of price-hike and problems being faced by masses,” he said.

“Rana Shamim recorded his oath before an oath commissioner in London and we are going to believe it,” he said. He said if Rana Shamim was wrong then he should be punished; otherwise, ex-chief justice should be sent to jail. “If an ex-PM can be imprisoned, then why an ex-CJ cannot be sent to jail,” he asked. Abbasi said it had also been proven that then chief justice was involved in rejection of bail applications, saying that it should also be known as to who was behind conviction of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. “We need answers to these questions,” he said adding who should be held accountable for interference of CJ in elections.

Kh Asif said the affidavit given by chief judge of GB proved that general elections were rigged and product of those polls could be a PM like Imran Khan, who would destroy economy and cause price-hike in the country.

The PMLN leader said the whole system stood flawed including the constitutional institutions like Supreme Court, whose chief justice was involved in elections, then Election Commission and the sitting assembly which is a product of those elections. “Now the only solution to these flawed institutions is that the people be given their right to express their opinion and they elect new assemblies and the government,” he said. He pointed out that then Imran Khan pointed fingers at polls in four constituencies and 35 punctures, but now it is question of credibility of the whole general elections. “Not only that later we won in four constituencies but also triumphed in 2018 general elections in those particular constituencies,” he said.

Kh Asif said it had been proven now that how Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were convicted and their bail applications were rejected. “Who will compensate Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz for the time they spent in prison,” he questioned. He said following affidavit of the ex-chief judge of GB, the incumbent government had become politically, morally and constitutionally bankrupt.

Earlier, Kh Asif said in the National Assembly the affidavit given by ex-chief judge of GB put question marks on 2018 elections and conviction of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz in cases which did not exist on ground. He questioned that for how long the people like the former chief justice of Pakistan would continue to influence general elections.

He pointed out that there are precedents in other countries that parliaments had summoned members of superior judiciary. “Ex-chief judge of GB has uttered names of important personalities of judiciary and we cannot remain silent on that,” he said.

He said that members of all institutions like judiciary, establishment and bureaucracy use to protect each other but these are politicians who slaughter each other for lust of power and political benefits. “If we stop slaughtering each and stop hatching conspiracies with support of others, there are chances of improvement in system,” he said.

He said they did not want confrontation with Election Commission or judiciary but they also wanted to defend the Parliament and parliamentarians. “I want to say here that politicians should come to this House through power of vote and not through backdoors and conspiracies.”

Saying that cracks in constitutional institutions would cause irreparable loss to the system, Kh Asif suggested the Parliament to hold debate on the issue.

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz said about the ex-chief judge GB affidavit that the oppressors should fear those who show patience and leave their matter to God. She said She said there was a lesson in this incident for the cruel and barbarous people.