Toor's Vlog On What Happened In Meeting With CJP 'Greatly Exaggerated': Abid Andaleeb

Toor's Vlog On What Happened In Meeting With CJP 'Greatly Exaggerated': Abid Andaleeb
Abid Andaleeb, one of the court reporters who were in the meeting with Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial a day before Eidul Azha, but contents of which were leaked on Monday evening, has come out to refute most of them as fabrications.

The report by fellow journalist Asad Toor claimed that CJP Bandial made contentious remarks about political leanings, grouping in the Supreme Court, pressure from the military and his views on the government and fellow judges.

In a video posted on his channel on Tuesday afternoon, Andaleeb claimed that he had been sent Toor's video report by another reporter and found it to be shocking and packed with lies.

He added that Toor was not a part of the meeting and that he never bothered to inquire about what had been discussed in the meeting from any of the three individuals who met with the chief justice. Instead, he accused Toor of making a video based on hearsay and exposed his bias.

It is pertinent to note here that the Supreme Court has offered no reaction whatsoever to the vlog while Siddique Jan, who accompanied Anadleeb in the meeting, has also denounced Toor's claims.

Why did the meeting take place?

Andaleeb explained that the meeting took place after he had written to CJP Bandial on behalf of missing journalist turned YouTuber Imran Riaz Khan and implored the top judge to take notice of the treatment meted out to him.

In the letter, Andaleeb said he wrote how the chief justice's position comes with the responsibility of dispensing justice, instead, the top judge had asked the people to be patient.

He explained that this is something that he does on a regular basis and has written to the CJP about slain journalist Arshad Sharif in the past as well. He added that he had written similar letters to other judges and politicians as well.

Andaleeb said that the letter went viral, and a colleague of theirs sent it to the CJP Bandial on his WhatsApp.

"A day or two later, I got a call from the CJP's office stating that the chief justice had read the letter," Andaleeb said, adding that later a meeting was called purely as a 'goodwill gesture'.

Andaleeb added that it was an off-the-record meeting, which ethically cannot be reported. He added that he, Siddique Jan and Ahmad Adeel Sarfaraz and the chief justice were the exclusive participants of that meeting.

The agenda of the meeting, Andaleeb said, was Imran Riaz Khan. However, he later conceded that he and those accompanying him used the opportunity to ask the CJP several questions about various topics.

"We all wanted Imran Riaz Khan to come home for Eid," Andaleeb said, adding that earlier that day, the issue of Imran Riaz Khan was touched upon in the courtroom.

"The CJP said that reading the letter, he felt as if we were angry, but this is not the case at all," Andaleeb quoted the interaction with the chief justice.

CJP on Imran Khan

Andaleeb refuted what Toor had insinuated to be the chief justice's comments about the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, that he was brave and resilient and that the military could not do anything to him.

"I can state on oath that there was no discussion on this topic, nor was anything of the sort uttered," he asserted, adding that anything that Toor said was a fabrication.

READ MORE: Journalist Makes Shocking Claims About Meeting Between CJP And YouTubers

Andaleeb, however, said that it was Jan who had asked that there were reports that some conditions had been put forward for Imran Riaz Khan's release.

"The chief justice did not speak on this," Andaleeb said.

CJP vs Govt

Andaleeb also refuted Toor's suggestion that CJP had an axe to grind with the government.

"Never ever, this is a complete lie. There is no truth to this."

Grouping in SC

While responding to Toor's assertions that the chief justice had accepted the existence of a group loyal to him in the Supreme Court, Andaleeb asked why would the top judge of the top court in the land say something like this to the three of them who do not are considered to be quite junior in the field and do not even appear on national television.

"Were we the only journalists that the CJP could find to tell this to?" Andaleeb asked.

He added that since none of them have a television show, they do not command the same impact as their more illustrious peers.

"What can the CJP achieve by telling us all this?"

Andaleeb went on to refute what Toor had said about the eight-member 'bench' of loyalists in the Supreme Court.

CJP's alleged comments that the remaining judges are aligned with the military and do not want to work or let the group work were also refuted by Andaleeb.

On the CJP's alleged statement on politics, Andaleeb clarified that on a lighter note, the top judge said that a person should have some acquaintance with politics. Andaleeb said that the CJP went on to say that this is perhaps his weakness, that he does not know politics the way others do.

Andaleeb said that this was twisted out of context and turned into something else entirely by Toor.

Justice Mazahar Akbar Naqvi reference

On the reference of Justice Mazahar Akbar Naqvi, Andaleeb refuted that the CJP referred to the superior judiciary's judge as 'neat and clean' and that no evidence has been found against him thus far.

"He only said that the reference on Justice Naqvi is pending with the second-most senior judge Justice Sardar Tariq Masood. A month has elapsed, but I do not know what has happened to it," Andaleeb said, quoting the chief justice.

Military's pressure

Andaleeb said that there was no truth to Toor's claims that the CJP had pointed to 'unimaginable' pressure on him from and the judiciary from the military.

"Why would the CJP tell Siddique Jan, Adeel Sarfaraz and me about the pressures on him," he said.

He later said that nothing of this sort was discussed.

Meeting with judges of the high court

Andaleeb, however, confirmed that the CJP had told them that he had held a meeting with some judges from the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

But he termed as lies Toor's claims that judges of the IHC had complained to the CJP about alleged pressure and harassment.

Andaleeb also termed as fabrications the CJP's statement that judges of IHC should remain steadfast and don't back down.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah a 'hypocrite'

Responding to Toor's claim that CJP Bandial called Justice Shah a hypocrite before them, Andaleeb said that it was concocted.

"I can state on oath that this is a lie," Andaleeb said, adding that nothing of the sort came up in their discussion.

Commotion over Justice Isa's leaked video

Andaleeb, however, confirmed that they discussed the video from a function where both Justice Isa and CJP Bandial were present, and the former allegedly did not greet the latter, implying a cold war.

"I was greeting people, including a judge who had authored some good judgements. During this time, someone tapped Justice Qazi Faez Isa's shoulder and drew his attention away from where I was," Andaleeb quoted CJP Bandial as explaining the video matter.

Andaleeb continued that CJP Bandial confirmed Justice Isa had approached him after the video went viral and asked for his clarifying note on the matter to be officially published.

"CJP Bandial said that if he held any grudges against Justice Isa, he would not have published the note. But since he did not, the note was published," Andaleeb said.

Andaleeb also refuted that CJP Bandial told them that Justice Isa had become a major problem.

"One of us (Jan, Sarfaraz and Andaleeb) said that they were discussing that when Justice Isa takes up the mantle as chief justice, then the media will face a tough time," Andaleeb narrated, adding that CJP Bandial briefly responded with "it's possible".

On the interaction between Justice Isa and CJP Bandial after the former went to parliament, Andaleeb confirmed that the narrated version was only true to the extent that after facing public criticism, Justice Isa approached CJP Bandial.

"Justice Isa went to parliament without consulting us (other judges), and when he faced criticism, he approached me and asked to publish his clarification on the matter," Andaleeb said, quoting the CJP.

"I told him that he did not ask anyone before going. But later, when Justice Isa sent his clarification note, the note was published on the Supreme Court website," Andaleeb added quoting the CJP.

Full court on military courts

Andaleeb said that they asked CJP Bandial why he did not create a full-court bench on the military courts. To this, Andaleeb said that the CJP explained to them that summer vacations are underway in the court and not all of the judges are available.

"The judges who were available became a part of the bench," Andaleeb quoted CJP Bandial.

Curative review reference

Responding to Toor's comments with regards to CJP Bandial on the curative review against Justice Isa, Andaleeb said that they were the ones who asked that question.

"The reference is pending. I have read judgements on it passed by Indian courts where this concept is more prevalent," Andaleeb quoted CJP Bandial and added that the top judge motioned to stacks of files lying on the table in front of him.

"I am working on it and will finalize the judgement soon," Andaleeb quoted CJP Bandial.

On the reference against Justice Isa, Andaleeb said that CJP Bandial told them he could not look Serena Isa in the eye.

"Obviously, we had to do justice, and we told her she has two options," Andaleeb quoted CJP Bandial as saying.

Andaleeb went on to say that Toor's claims regarding the elevation of Justice Hilali and Justice Shaikh from Sindh were all baseless, while the language used was worse than colloquial.

Watch his full vlog below


Adeel Sarfraz also denies contents of Toor's vlog

Court reporter Adeel Sarfraz, who was one of the three people who met with Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial last week, refuted claims made by journalist Asad Toor in his vlog.

"I was in that meeting, and there was no mention of Imran Khan or the military," he said.

"There was no talk of this kind at all."

Sarfraz also denied that certain journalists were criticized by name for their reporting on the Supreme Court and the chief justice.

"Only one journalist was mentioned by the chief justice, and it was in relation to a clipping of a story sent to him. The story was by Hasnaat Malik and contained several statements, but the CJP said he has chosen to forego it," Sarfraz said.

The reporter added that the CJP did not mention Justice Qazi Faez Isa or Justice Sardar Tariq Masood nor the reference against Justice Mazahar Akbar Naqvi.

"There was no discussion of the military courts' case."

Reported comments about Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Athar Minallah also did not take place. Instead, he had praised these judges.

Siddique Jan says report of discussion in meeting was 70 false

Meanwhile, Siddique Jan, one of the journalists who was in the meeting, said of what was reported about the meeting, a vast majority of it was falsehood.

In particular he denied the comments attributed to the CJP with regards to the military and Imran Khan, adding that no political matters were discussed.