Judge Video Scandal: SC to take up plea on July 16

Dunya News

The petitioner prayed the court to order probe into the videos.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Supreme Court on Friday fixed a date for the hearing of a petition in case pertaining to alleged video scandal of former accountability court judge Arshad Malik.

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa will hear the petition on July 16.

The petition was submitted by a citizen Ishtiaq Mirza through Advocate Chaudhry Munir Sadiq in the SC Registry on Thursday.

Federal government, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Raja Zafarul Haq and Nasir Butt have been made party in the petition.

The petitioner prayed the court to order probe into the alleged videos.

Maryam Nawaz’s press conference

On Saturday, Maryam Nawaz claimed the judge was blackmailed into convicting Nawaz without any evidence and had admitted that. According to her, Judge Malik called PML-N leader Nasir Butt to his house himself to clear his conscience and she showed a video clip from their meeting.

She said that corruption allegations were made on Nawaz Sharif but no proves were shown, adding that everyone knows this is not accountability but victimization.

Maryam Nawaz also unveiled a video clip whereby accountability judge Arshad Malik could be heard saying that there was “no proof of corruption against the deposed premier” in the December 24 Al-Azizia reference.

The PML-N leader claimed that the accountability judge was coerced into delivering the Al-Azizia verdict against him [Nawaz]. She further demanded acquittal of Nawaz Sharif on the basis of evidences shown in video, adding that she respects every institution of Pakistan.

At the end of the press conference, she said that she has much bigger proof than this.

Judge Arshad Malik rejects allegations

On Sunday, Judge Arshad Malik rejected Maryam Nawaz’s allegations from a day earlier , that the judge had convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference under “immense pressure from hidden hands” saying that the former premier was convicted on the basis of evidence.

Judge Arshad Malik, the accountability judge who sentenced Nawaz Sharif to jail and whom Maryam Nawaz says was pressured into doing so, has issued a statement denying Maryam’s assertions.

Judge Malik said that video clip was not representative of their conversation. He said it was cut and edited and was not reflective of what he said. He also said that the PML-N, more notably Nawaz’s family, tried to bribe him during his trial and when he didn’t cooperate, they threatened him.

If I had to succumb to pressure or threats, I wouldn’t acquit him in one case and convict him in the other, he asserted. Judge Malik convicted Nawaz in the Avenfield case and acquitted him in the Flagship case.

He was referring to assertions made by Maryam that he was blackmailed into convicting Nawaz because his blackmailers had personal videos of him. In the video shown by Maryam, he reportedly said he had even contemplated suicide because of the video in response to Butt’s assertion that the video would ruin his life.

Judge Malik said he had heard and decided the case according to merit and the law. They are trying to put a political twist on the issue, he said. He admitted that he knew Butt and his brother and said they were old acquaintances. He said the PML-N was trying to defame him and the court.

NAB cases against Nawaz Sharif

In December 2018, an accountability court sentenced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to seven-year rigorous imprisonment after it found him guilty in Al-Azizia reference, one of the three graft cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in line with the apex court order.

The Supreme Court on July 28, 2017, disqualified Nawaz in Panama Papers case and ordered NAB to file separate cases which were respectively called Avenfiled, Al-Azizia and Flagship references.

Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had acquitted Sharif in Flagship reference while the former premier and his family members were already convicted in Avenfield case.