LAHORE: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz met her father Nawaz Sharif in the Kot Lakhpat jail on Thursday and briefed him on the purported video clips of Islamabad accountability court judge Arshad Malik in which he claimed that he had been “pressurised and blackmailed” to convict him (Sharif) in the Al-Azizia reference.
She told her father that Mr Malik had sought his “forgiveness” for convicting him despite having no evidence of corruption against him.
Maryam also released another clip of Mr Malik on social media showing that he (the judge) was meeting PML-N sympathiser Nasir Butt at his office in Islamabad.
“During meeting in February 2019 at Nasir Butt’s office, Judge Arshad Malik regretted jailing Nawaz under pressure and blackmailing. Nawaz is vindicated,” she said.
Earlier, she had released about an hour-long video of Mr Malik and Mr Butt related to the judge’s ‘confession’ about convicting an ‘innocent man’. She released two more video clips in support of the first one.
Meanwhile, Maryam’s interview on a private TV channel was stopped minutes after it went on air.
“Maryam’s interview has been stopped forcibly just minutes after it went live,” said anchor Nadeem Malik. Earlier, former president Asif Ali Zardari’s interview was stopped minutes after it went on air on another TV channel.
“Basically, Imran Khan is afraid of Maryam Nawaz who is exposing his government’s conspiracy to jail the three-time prime minister by browbeating the judge of accountability court,” PML-N central information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb told Dawn.
She said the opposition wanted to know under what law the government through the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) stopped Maryam’s interview on a TV channel.
“First Imran Khan ordered stopping the coverage of Maryam’s Mandi Bahuaddin rally on private media channels and punished those that did not follow his government’s instruction. And now this selected prime minister is bent upon imposing a complete blackout of her coverage. But let me tell him that Maraym’s voice is the voice of all Pakistanis and it cannot be silenced,” she said.
Maryam later uploaded the part of her interview taken off air on her Twitter account.
She said: “They are not afraid of me, they are afraid of truth. I request the honourable judiciary that this (confession of Mr Malik) is not a slur on Nawaz Sharif but on the judicial system.”
Ms Nawaz said she was worried about the life of her father as the PTI government could go to any extent to harm him.
Special Assistant to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan did not respond to Dawn’s query as to why Maryam’s interview was stopped from going on air on a private TV channel.
The federal cabinet proposes to block the media coverage and interview of politicians who are either convicts or under-trial prisoners. It has directed Pemra to fulfill its responsibility. Pemra’s legal mechanism usually imposes restrictions on subject matter and issues and not certain classes of individuals.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif was among the five members of the Sharif family who had been allowed to see the elder Sharif. No PML-N leader was allowed by the jail authority to meet Mr Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail where he is serving seven-year imprisonment in Al-Azizia Mills case.
A number of party workers gathered outside the jail and chanted slogans against Imran Khan and in favour of their leaders.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2019