Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in a statement released by his spokesperson on Saturday, expressed grave concern over the allegations made by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz earlier in the day in which she had claimed that the presiding judge in a trial against her father was blackmailed and forced to issue an unfavourable verdict against him.
"Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed grave concern on the allegations levied by the PML-N regarding blackmailing of a judge through an incriminating video to force him give a desired verdict in the case against former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif," read the statement.
It noted that this was not the first time that such accusations had surfaced and that in the past "similar allegations of exerting pressure on the judges have also been made".
"It is indeed a sad commentary on the health of Pakistani democracy that such accusations continue to be made so often and so repeatedly," said the statement.
According to the statement, the PPP chairman has called upon the judiciary to "take appropriate action in the matter".
"If for some reasons the judiciary is not inclined to address such issues then the opposition parties must deliberate on it and formulate a united course of action," the PPP statement added.
The statement, terming today's development as "most unfortunate", regretted that "political circles are abuzz with pressure reportedly exerted on judges to deliver preferred verdicts in corruption cases against opposition leaders, in by-elections against opposition candidates amid talk of even the superior judiciary brought under pressure."
The spokesperson said that the presidential references against some honorable judges are also viewed by many as "attempts by the regime to undermine judicial independence".
Perspective: How will the judiciary's independence be protected?
The PPP has appealed to all judges under pressure to recuse themselves from cases rather than give verdicts under pressure.
The party has also demanded remedial measures be taken "to ensure the independence of the judiciary and to ensure that justice is not only done but also seen to be done".
It has called upon all institutions "to stay within their constitutional domain".