Judge video scandal evidence not attested because of its political nature, IHC told

Updated December 05, 2019

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The deputy attorney general (DAG) of the federal government on Wednesday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom refused attestation of evidence related to judge video scandal because the documents were political in nature. — AFP/File
The deputy attorney general (DAG) of the federal government on Wednesday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom refused attestation of evidence related to judge video scandal because the documents were political in nature. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The deputy attorney general (DAG) of the federal government on Wednesday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom refused attestation of evidence related to judge video scandal because the documents were political in nature.

DAG Syed Mohammad Tayyab, during the hearing of a petition filed by Nasir Butt, a central character in the judge video scandal, told the IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani that under the standard operating procedure (SOP), foreign missions do not attest such documents.

The court observed that before attestation, how could the high commission officials label the documents as politically motivated.

Their job is to attest the documents and the legality of these documents is to be examined by the court of law, the bench remarked, adding that it was not the prerogative of the embassy to adjudge any documents. The court has sought a report from the foreign ministry as well as a copy of the SOP from the deputy attorney general.

When the court inquired from the counsel of the petitioner as to why his client, Nasir Butt, wanted the documents attested, Counsel Nasir Bhutta said the evidence was related to the judge video scandal and since itfalls in a foreign jurisdiction, attestation from the high commission was mandatory to ensure its authenticity.

He said in case these documents as well as the text of the affidavit were erroneous, the trial court could pass such observations and not the official of the high commission.

Mr Tayyab sought time from the court to advance detailed arguments. Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing till December 9.

The petition adopted before the court that despite Mr Butt’s repeated visits to the Pakistani High Commission in the UK, the relevant officials especially, First Secretary Didar Ali Abro, did not attest the documentary evidence which he had already submitted before the IHC.

On October 5, Mr Butt had submitted before the IHC the notarised copies of the transcript of the audio recording of the conversation between himself and judge Malik, transcript of video-cum-audio recording of the conversation, affidavit of petitioner, forensic reports of audio and video recordings and a USB containing the copies of the original audio and video-cum-audio recordings of the conversations.

Nasir Bhutta argued before the court that Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, while deciding a set of petitions on the judge video scandal, observed that the conduct of Judge Malik had caused all honest, hard-working and dedicated judges to “bow their heads in shame”.

The counsel said despite these observations by the Supreme Court chief justice, Judge Malik was enjoying all benefits and given undue importance.

The director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the complaint of Judge Malik had transferred the inquiry of the video scandal from the cyber crimes wing to the counter-terrorism wing.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2019