A former GB judge ‘disrobes’ ex-CJP, benefits PML-N

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 02:44 PM, 15 Nov, 2021
A former GB judge ‘disrobes’ ex-CJP, benefits PML-N

Pakistan’s system of justice has always been disappointing for a variety of reasons. Cases remain pending in courts for years, adding to the agony of the victims. Those who are supposed to decide the cases give their verdicts against a ‘fee’.

But what a former chief justice of Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit Baltistan has revealed about former CJP Saqib Nisar reflects the situation on the top. It exposes the ‘integrity’ of the former top judge and gives more munition to the PML-N for the political benefit at a time when it is uniting all opposition parties to oust the PTI government. Now the party will also try to make this decision controversial. 

Justice Dr Rana M Shamim has stated in a notarized affidavit that he was a witness to the then CJP Saqib Nisar’s direction to a high court judge that he should not release former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on bail at any cost before the 2018 general elections.

“Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif must remain in jail until the general elections are over. On assurances from the other side, he (Saqib Nisar) became calm and happily demanded another cup of tea,” he said in the affidavit about the then top judge of Pakistan.

While the affidavit gives many more details of the incident, it is not clear why the revelation was made now and why it took the former GB apex court chief justice’s conscience three years to wake up.

Should not such a ‘judge’ be proceeded again for keeping mum over such an important matter for so long?  

Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were convicted by an accountability court in a graft case before the July 25, 2018, general elections. Their lawyers had moved the court for suspension of the conviction but the case after initial hearings was postponed till last week of July.

Former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar categorically denied that he had ever directed any of his subordinate judges in connection with any judicial order whether it pertained to Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz or anyone else.

Justice Rana Shamim remained tight-lipped during the intervening period possibly to safeguard his service interests. However, his silence will raise questions about the credibility of his claim.

As for the veracity of the allegation, even if is assumed to be true, this is not the first time that a top judge, for whatever reasons, went out of the way to benefit the unknown people.

The judiciary has been giving in to external pressures in the past as well.

For example, the decision to award capital punishment to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a murder case had been given under pressure. The late Justice Nasim Hasan Shah had admitted this bitter reality.

The then military regime of Gen Zia could not afford to spare Mr Bhutto as it could have serious consequences for the former.

Then, the Supreme Court was fully inclined to restore the government of Mr Muhammad Khan Junejo (dismissed on May 29, 1988) by Gen Ziaul Haq, but it changed its mind when the then army chief Gen Aslam Beg had sent a message to the bench through Wasim Sajjad (then law minister in the Junejo government) against such a move.

The bench was told that the nation was ready for fresh elections and thus restoration of the Junejo government at this stage will not be in national interest.

Ultimately, the elections were held on schedule as a result of which Benazir Bhutto became prime minister for the first time.

The role of Justice (retd) Muhammad Qayyum in the conviction of Benazir Bhutto under pressure from the then Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rehman and the Sharifs is an open secret.  

Sharifs regarded Benazir Bhutto as their arch-rival and wanted to get rid of her at any cost.

This was a great scandal of the time.  

However, hats off to the ‘custodians of the Constitution’, daughter of Mr Saifur Rehman was recently married to Maryam Safdar’s son – Junaid.  

The same ’honourable’ Justice Qayyum served Gen Musharraf as his attorney general.

In fact, only the judges know how ‘independent’ they are and what happens behind the closed doors before the pronouncement of verdicts in important cases.  

Categories : Opinion