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Pakistan sacks judge accused of 'blackmail' in ex-PM Sharif case

13 July 2019

The Islamabad High Court on Friday has chose to remove accountability judge, Justice Arshad Malik, from his post over ongoing leaked video controversy.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Raja Zafaul Haq have also been made parties in the case.

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.

He said that the bribe was soon followed by a threat of physical harm from Nasir Butt, who had told him that "Mian Nawaz Sharif had helped him avoid punishment for 4-5 murders he had committed and he was willing to go to any extend to help Mian Sahib in the trials he was facing".

She said the judge had contacted Nasir Butt and told him that he was feeling guilty and having nightmares ever since he announced the verdict that led to Nawaz Sharif's imprisonment.

Malik later issued a statement denying he had been blackmailed to convict Sharif and saying the video had been manipulated.

Earlier, judge Arshad Malik had rejected all the allegations leveled by Maryam Nawaz regarding victimizing ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif in fake corruption cases.

After perusing the affidavit, the IHC administration in the letter addressed to the law ministry stated: "The recent development i.e. releasing of videos, issuing of press release by the registrar accountability court-II Islamabad and affidavit submitted by the incumbent judge narrating his version (copy enclosed) requires his immediate removal". He said: "The verdict was on merit".

"The sentence (of Sharif) can not be immediately be suspended, extended or changed in any way until the IHC takes a decision regarding whether the judgement was issued under pressure", Nasim said.

The minister also revealed that if the accusations hurled by the judge were proven to be true after investigation then those being named might have to face a jail sentence up to 10 years for trying to influence a high-level case under Article 31 (a) of NAB ordinance. A constitutional petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, requesting for ordering an inquiry into the controversial video of Arshad Malik.

Mirza states in the petition that the leaked video, as it appears, raises questions over the judiciary's independence. The petition has been fixed for hearing on July 16 before a three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa. 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.

Pakistan sacks judge accused of 'blackmail' in ex-PM Sharif case