The Islamabad High Court (IHC) postponed its indictment against former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice, Rana Shamim, and three journalists on Friday in the case regarding the leaked affidavit accusing former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar of impeding the release of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leadership from prison.
Jang Group owner Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman and journalists Ansar Abbasi and Aamir Ghauri are also being held in contempt of court in the case.
At Friday’s hearing, Justice Minallah reiterated the court’s belief in freedom of expression and negated insinuations he said were circulating in the press that the high court, including himself, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb, had ‘made decisions under pressure’.
“The case of three journalists is secondary,” argued Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan, adding that, “today, Abbasi and Ghauri said that if it [the affidavit] had been in the form of a statement, they would not have published it and [that] the impression of their organization spreading a narrative should end.”
The AGP also called for the court to frame the charges against the former chief justice before proceeding with the case against the newsmen.
Presiding IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah advised the four men that “acceptance of mistake in front of the court increases honor,” and called on them to ‘reflect’ before the next hearing on January 20.
Friday’s hearing was ultimately adjourned because Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman was unable to appear before the court as he has tested positive for coronavirus.