ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) gave a last chance to a former Gilgit-Baltistan chief judge on Wednesday to submit a list of witnesses to support his allegations against former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

The former GB chief justice, Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan, appeared before the high court along with his counsel Abdul Latif Afridi and submitted an apology, but the court didn’t consider it.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that Mr Shamim had not backtracked from his allegations and disowned the contents of an affidavit he executed in London in November last year.

The matter surfaced last year when a newspaper published a report on Mr Shamim’s affidavit, which alleged that ex-CJP Nisar had made a phone call to an IHC judge asking that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz not be released from prison until after the 2018 elections.

Rana Shamim given ‘last chance’ to submit witness list

During Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Minallah noted that if Mr Shamim failed to prove the allegations, it would be “a grave contempt”, adding that the court would consider his apology only if he proved that the contents of the affidavit had been written out of misunderstanding, misapprehension or confusion.

The high court referred to the judgement of a seven-member Supreme Court bench that had laid down certain principles to deal with contempt of court law, including the aspect of apology and pardon.

Justice Minallah, however, assured Mr Shamim’s counsel that the IHC would provide every opportunity to his client to prove the allegations during the course of trial and advised him to submit a list of witnesses.

The counsel, Advocate Afridi, insisted that since Mr Shamim did not disclose the affidavit, he could not be tried under the contempt law merely for writing in private.

The IHC chief justice directed him to submit the list at the next hearing on Sept 12.

During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Barrister Munawar Duggal submitted the list of prosecution evidence and witnesses.

As per the prosecution list, Islamabad’s deputy commissioner has been asked to produce an authentic copy of the declaration of The News International and Daily Jang newspapers along with copies of their Nov 15, 2021 editions, which carried the news containing the affidavit.

It also required the IHC registrar to produce Mr Shamim’s original affidavit received from the UK.

The duty roster of Justice Aamer Farooq has also been included in the evidence against the former GB judge.

The prosecution proposed that Charles D. Guthrie, a British solicitor, be summoned to “depose about the circumstances and place where the affidavit was executed along with the relevant record”.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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