Former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Mohammad Shamim, who has accused former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar of judicial interference in the corruption references against PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, has had long-standing relations with the PML-N supremo and his party in the capacity of an officer-bearer as well as lawyer, it emerged on Tuesday.
According to Supreme Court advocate Ahmed Hassan Rana, the son as well as lawyer of the former GB top judge, his father has remained "in direct touch" with Nawaz and even met the PML-N supremo in England before the pandemic.
Speaking on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath, Rana acknowledged that Justice Shamim had also served as the vice-president of PML-N Sindh in the past and was Nawaz's lawyer in the Memogate scandal case.
Rana's appearances on the media come on the same day as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issuing show-cause notices to The News journalist Ansar Abbasi, former judge Shamim and two others.
The court had taken notice on Monday of a report published in The News by Abbasi, which quoted Justice Shamim as saying in an affidavit that he witnessed ex-CJP Nasir relaying instructions to a high court judge three years ago to not release Nawaz and Maryam in the corruption references against them ahead of the 2018 general elections.
The report, which was hailed by the PML-N as vindication, has been refuted by Justice Nisar. Justice Shamim was not present due to health reasons for today's proceedings presided over by the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and was represented by his son in court.
During his appearance on Khanzada's show, Advocate Rana, while refusing to answer any questions on his father's behalf, said he himself was serving as the Punjab assistant advocate general at the time of Nawaz's arrest in 2018 and also met the PML-N leader in jail.
He said his father had last met Nawaz while visiting the UK before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
"[Shamim] has remained [Nawaz's] lawyer so the two have relations. They have direct relations," Rana said.
During the live programme, Rana appeared to take Justice Shamim live on a call to ask him about his meeting with Nawaz, but told Khanzada that his father had responded with "no comments".
However, he read out a text from Shamim in which the former judge stated that he had not released the affidavit in question to any journalist, and that it may have been "leaked" from the office of the notary public in London who attested the document.
While answering a question, Rana said his father would appear before the IHC on November 26, when the next hearing of the matter will be held.
'Have not seen the affidavit'
Appearing on ARY News show Off the Record, Advocate Rana told anchor Kashif Abbasi that he was not aware that his father would make the statement about Nisar while visiting London — where the affidavit in question was notarised — adding that he had not seen the actual affidavit, and only saw pictures of it.
"I was made aware of this for the first time by [journalist] Matiullah Jan yesterday," he added.
When asked why was it notarised in London, Rana said "no comments".
Rana said a "special" Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) should be constituted to resolve the matter because it involved the former chief justices of Pakistan as well as GB, but declined to answer why Justice Shamim did not submit his affidavit to the top legal body.
Regarding the timing of the affidavit, Rana said he was not aware of the details and had yet to discuss this with his father as his lawyer.
Reacting to Rana's comments, PML-N leader Musaddik Malik on the ARY show said he found them to be "interesting and funny". He declined to comment on the loopholes in the matter, saying Rana had to answer for himself in the IHC.
But when seen in the "larger context", he said, ex-IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and former accountability judge Arshad Malik too had pointed to similar issues (regarding judicial interference).
Earlier in the day, during the IHC hearing, Justice Minallah had pointed out that if another judge spoke like this [as Justice Nisar in the affidavit] in front of him, he would have gotten in touch with the SJC.
"A person witnesses the CJP asking someone to commit a crime. The person stays silent for three years and an affidavit concerning the incident surfaces. How can a newspaper publish such a document?" he had asked.