Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Dawn News - 20 days ago

IHC issues notice to FO over attestation of judge’s papers

ISLAMABAD: The Islam­­abad High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Foreign Office and others on a petition seeking issuance of a directive to the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom for attestation of documents related to alleged confessions of a former accountability court judge. Hearing the petition filed by Nasir Butt, the main character in the judge’s video scandal, Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that the petitioner could not claim equal rights as he “is avoiding legal proceedings”. The bench said that if the petitioner intended to testify anything in court, he would be assured of protection in Pakistan. Mr Butt has filed the petition against the first secretary and Pakistani high commissioner in the UK as well as the foreign secretary for not attesting the documents related to the alleged confessions by former accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik that he had convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif under duress. The petitioner argued that despite his repeated visits to the Pakistani High Commis­sion, the relevant officials, especially First Secretary Didar Ali Abro, did not attest the documentary evidence which he had already submitted to the IHC. On Oct 5, Mr Butt had submitted to the IHC notarised copies of the transcript of audio recording of his conversation with judge Malik, transcript of video-cum-audio recording of the conversation, affidavit, forensic reports of audio and video recordings and a USB containing copies of the original audio and video-cum-audio record­ings of the conversation. Nasir Bhutta, the counsel for Mr Butt, argued before the court that while deciding a set of petitions on the judge video scandal case, Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa had observed that the conduct of judge Malik had caused all honest, hard-working and dedicated judges to “bow their heads in shame”. The counsel said that despite such observations by the chief justice, the judge was enjoying all benefits and receiving undue importance. The Federal Investiga­tion Agency (FIA) director general on a complaint of judge Malik has transferred the inquiry of the video scandal from the Cybercrimes Wing to the Counter-Terrorism Wing. After the ‘damaging’ revelation of his video, the judge lodged a first information report (FIR) with the Cybercrimes Wing in which he nominated Nasir Butt and others as accused. Advocate Bhutta argued that the petition was not about the recording of testimony as Mr Butt had already offered to record his statement through video link. He pointed out that in the instant case the petitioner was seeking a directive for the Pakistani High Commission to attest the documents. Justice Minallah issued notices to the relevant authorities and adjourned the hearing till Oct 28. Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019


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