Islamabad [Pakistan], November 26 (ANI): The Islamabad High Court on Friday quashed the petition seeking contempt proceedings against Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leaders for “scandalising” former chief justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, and subjecting him to “character assassination”.
The said petition was filed against the PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi following their criticism against ex-CJP Nisar, after PML-N had put allegations against the former CJP for unlawful judicial interference, reported Dawn.
Earlier, the former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan, Rana Shamim claimed ex-CJP Nisar’s had been involved in Nawaz Sharif and his daughter’s case ahead of the 2018 general elections. Shamim further alleged that Nisar was involved in denying bail to Sharif and his daughter.
An investigative report by the News International claimed, in the affidavit, Shamim had said that then CJP Saqib Nisar had made a call to Justice Aamir Farooq of the IHC and asked him not to grant bail to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz before the general elections in 2018, and extend their detention in the corruption case.
Following Shamim’s claim and the investigative report, on November 15 Abbasi called for a sue moto probe against Nisar. “If Mian Nawaz Sharif can go to jail, why Mian Saqib Nisar can’t?” quoted Dawn as saying, Abbasi.
According to Dawn, throwing out the petition filed by Advocate Kulsoom Khaliq, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said in his written order that a judge who ceased to hold a judicial office “attains the status of a private citizen. Such a person is no more a member of the ‘Court’ in the context of Article 204 of the Constitution nor under the Ordinance of 2003.”
“It remains open to a retired judicial officer to seek remedies available in a court of law. However, the offence of contempt is not attracted in the case of a retired judge because after retirement the latter attains the status of a private citizen. An independent judge would not be influenced nor affected in any other manner because of public criticism,” Justice Minallah wrote.
The Chief Justice reiterated that the “contempt is only justified if it is in the public interest. And Judges, holding such a high designation should welcome criticism.”
Taking notice of the investigative report, a summons has been issued to Abbasi, Shamim, and two others. The next hearing is scheduled on November 30, reported Dawn. (ANI)