The former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim on Tuesday told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the affidavit he had signed accusing former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar was leaked.

“My affidavit was sealed and only [kept] with my family. I don’t know how it was leaked,” said Rana Shamim.

Chief Justice IHC Justice Athar Minallah had previously taken notice of the story published in The News, in which Judge Shamim in a signed affidavit wrote that he was a witness to Nisar giving directions to a high court judge, not to release Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on bail at any cost before the 2018 general elections. The report was written by senior journalist Ansar Abbasi.

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IHC judge had directed the ex-judge to submit his response.

Presiding over the hearing, Justice Minallah said the case was related to his court and its accountability, adding, that the judiciary’s freedom was dependent on the freedom of the press.

Justice Minallah asked Shamim whether he had submitted his response as asked by the court earlier to which the latter replied that there had been a tragedy in his family and requested the court to give him time till December 12 and schedule the next hearing after that.

The IHC chief justice gave Shamim five days to submit his written response.

“I have not yet seen my affidavit,” the ex-GB judge informed the court.

“You must have recorded the affidavit for some purpose. You will inform in the written response how the affidavit was revealed after three years,” pressed IHC judge, inquiring whether Shamim had given the affidavit or not.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan, who was also present in today’s hearing, requested the court to direct Shamim to present the “original” affidavit in the IHC, stating, “This case is related to Article 19 and Article 19-A of the Constitution. The media’s role is secondary, responsibility lies on Rana Shamim.”

“Maybe his son leaked the affidavit,” he contended, referring to Ahmed Hassan Rana, Shamim’s son and lawyer.

Shamim said he had only one son, reiterating that he had not seen the affidavit himself.

At this, Justice Minallah directed Shamim to submit his affidavit in court.

When Shamim sought time to submit the affidavit, the AGP countered that the document was not 10 years old.

The former GB chief judge repeated his statement that he had not seen the affidavit, and read it in the news report published.

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“Does he not remember [what happened on] November 10? If he has not written [the affidavit], who has?” the AGP questioned. “Every day is very important,” he added, referring to Shamim’s requests for more time.

The IHC chief justice remarked that he does “not believe in contempt of court”, adding that judges should be held in higher regard.

“Rana Shamim’s statement today has further complicated the case. Judges should not be used for political narratives,” said Minallah.

The IHC adjourned proceedings of the case till December 7.