LAHORE: Terming the judge’s purported video fake, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said its authenticity can only be determined through a (forensic) audit and asked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz to take the matter to court.

However, Dr Awan also reminded the journalists during her press conference on Saturday about legal and moral obligation in the whole exercise, as “recording someone without his consent is also a crime”.

She was talking to the media soon after a presser at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, where she had gone to attend a meeting between Federal Board of Revenue chairman Shabbar Zaidi and representatives of the business community.

Asks Maryam to take matter to court instead of conducting media trial

She said: “Authenticity of the video played by Maryam Nawaz Sharif in her press conference can only be determined through a [forensic] audit and till then, it is a mere allegation. Credibility of the conversation and video content will be evaluated. Are they real or tampered? False or true? It will only be determined after the audit,” she reiterated, adding that the PTI government had nothing to hide from the people.

Taking a jibe at Nasir Butt, who was said to have allegedly recorded the video, the premier’s special assistant said people must be made aware of the character at the centre of these allegations. She said he was a business partner and friend of the Sharif family. She alleged that he was running several rings of hitmen and extortionists. After coming to power, she added, the PML-N cleared his criminal record, enabling him to return from abroad after more than two decades.

“Maryam Nawaz has not attacked just one judge, but has tried to besmirch the entire institution [judiciary] for her political gains. This is a false story, created to gain political ground. Such efforts are bound to fail.”

Dr Awan believed that Mr Butt perhaps “took customary briefcase to the judge to buy him out and when the attempt failed, he created a phony storyline. We condemn this. If you have any authentic proof, the courts are free (to judge them). Instead of conducting a media trial, take them to court and let it decide.

“The cases and the sentence are not done yet. The same courts have given relief (to the Sharifs). It is just an attempt to generate some popular sympathy and help PML-N’s sinking ship stay afloat, for a while.”

Criticising Ms Maryam, the special assistant said: “After bulldozing her uncle out of the party, the niece is trying to mislead people with sham stories to make the institutions controversial. It is, however, destined to fail.”

About the FBR chief’s meeting with the business community, Dr Awan said Mr Zaidi had confidence of the community and things would soon start improving.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2019