ISLAMABAD: The Islam­abad High Court (IHC) on Monday sought a list from former Chief Judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim of witnesses who would depose to substantiate allegations in the affidavit against former Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah resumed the hearing of a case relating to publishing of the former chief judge of GB’s affidavit in a national English daily accusing Justice Nisar of delaying the release of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on bail after their conviction in the Avenfield Properties’ case.

During the hearing of the case, Justice Minallah remarked that the onus of proof in the case was on Mr Shamim since he had levelled allegations against the former chief justice and a sitting judge of the IHC and the affidavit had already been published in the English daily.

The former chief judge of GB expressed remorse on the affidavit’s publication and said that he could only wish it had not been published.

He, however, claimed that he never provided the affidavit to the journalist and had written in his will that this would be disclosed after his death.

In response to the court’s directive to submit a list of witnesses who would depose in his defence, Mr Shamim said he would consider who could come to testify, and sought time from the court.

Justice Minallah remarked that the court would summon the witnesses, if required.

Further hearing of the case was adjourned to Sept 7.

The IHC had indicted Mr Shamim for contempt of court on January 20.

The affidavit in question alleged that retired Justice Saqib Nisar had made a phone call to a judge of the Islamabad High Court, asking him not to release former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz from prison until after the 2018 elections.

The charges framed by the court include the execution of an affidavit containing scandalous allegations, and not seeking any legal recourse against the notary public or the journalist who published its contents, following the leak of the sealed document.

The court also charged the former chief judge of GB for his three-year silence, holding that executing the affidavit in November last year was an attempt to undermine the court’s dignity, bring the administration of justice into disrespect and divert the course of justice.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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