ISLAMABAD: Former Gilgit-Baltistan chief judge Rana Mohammad Shamim has disclosed that following the death of five of his close relatives — including his wife — over a six-month period, he had decided to write an affidavit to put the record straight, and requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to seek a counter affidavit from former chief justice Saqib Nisar.
Through an application filed before the Islamabad High Court in a matter regarding contempt of court, Rana Shamim stated that he signed an affidavit on Nov 10 last year without disclosing the contents to anyone and kept it in a sealed envelope, which he handed over to his grandson, who was studying in UK at the time.
He said he had gone to the US to attend a symposium on judicial activism in Pakistan, arranged by Pak-American Lawyers for Civil and Legal Rights, where he was invited as chief guest.
He said he was due to return on Nov 17, but on Nov 6 he received the unfortunate news of the demise of his brother which caused him to cut his trip short and return to Pakistan on Nov 7.
Since he could not get a direct flight to Pakistan, he had to transit through London and reached London on Nov 8, before boarding a flight for Karachi via Dubai on Nov 10.
According to the application, the former GB chief judge was already under considerable emotional stress before he received the news of his brother’s death. His brother’s wife had passed away in Aug 2021; his uncle on July 5, 2021; his wife on June 4; while his sister-in-law had passed away on March 31.
The application stated that Shamim “while suffering through the stress of loss of his close family members… realised the importance of writing down the incident in his knowledge as soon as possible, as per his beloved late wife’s will… and he chose to do so during his transit stay in London.”
Mr Shamim said he did not mention his conversation with former chief justice Saqib Nisar on July 15, 2018 before the Supreme Judicial Council because at the time “one of the parties in this case i.e. the former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was the head of the Supreme Judicial Council and the respondent retired within a month of the incident. Furthermore, the incident had happened outside the jurisdiction of Pakistan.”
He termed IHC’s decision of framing charges against him as being against the principles of fairness and justice, adding that he could not be charged for contempt of court without establishing the basic tenets of a criminal offence.
“It is also of utmost importance that the veracity of the facts mentioned in the affidavit are to be confirmed through a thorough inquiry. It is also extremely important for just outcome that a counter affidavit by the former chief justice Saqib Nisar is also produced before the inquiry and the respondent is given an opportunity of cross examination,” the application added.
Mr Shamim has also filed another application against the appointment of Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan, saying that his behavior appears to be vindictive.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022