LAHORE: Just after the removal of the accountability court judge over the video controversy, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Friday requested the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter and declare his decision in a reference against party supremo Nawaz Sharif null and void and order his release from jail.
PML-N president and opposition leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said the decision to remove the judge and the videos related to the facts regarding his verdict against the former premier were before everyone. In this situation, he said, “the decision against Nawaz Sharif stands null and void after the removal of accountability judge Arshad Malik. Now to keep Nawaz Sharif in jail is illegal.”
Judge Arshad Malik of then accountability court had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to seven years imprisonment in Al-Azizia reference on December 24, 2018.
Seeks release of ex-PM after judge’s removal
“There is no legal justification to keep Nawaz Sharif behind bars anymore, because Malik’s dismissal has endorsed all events and realities evident in the video released by PML-N,” he said and demanded that all verdicts given against the three-time premier under pressure must be declared null and void.
“Nawaz Sharif must be released from prison immediately to salvage sanctity and honour of the judiciary and the judicial process after the disturbing revelations made by the video [purportedly related to Mr Malik].”
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said she was looking up to the apex court to intervene in the matter and ensure dispensation of justice.
“Nawaz Sharif should be freed without any delay after the removal of the judge who had convicted him under pressure. Removal of the judge in question is not enough. His decision (in Al-Azizia Mills case) should also be declared annulled,” she said.
In an appeal posted on Twitter, Maryam stated: “Free Nawaz Sharif, the true people’s representative, the three times elected Prime Minister who has been conspired against and wronged, not once but over & over again. (It’s) time to rectify the wrong & redeem justice.”
Challenging judge Malik’s affidavit, she said: “Had any bribe offer been made to judge Malik he would have confronted Nawaz Sharif during hearings or brought the matter to the apex court or even ordered his arrest for this crime. But there is not an iota of truth in this allegation of the judge (Arshad Malik).”
Earlier, she released video clips of judge Malik showing that he was meeting a PML-N sympathiser, Nasir Butt, at his office in Islamabad. “During meeting in February 2019 in Mr Butt’s office, Judge Arshad Malik regretted jailing Nawaz Sharif under pressure and blackmailing. Nawaz Sharif is vindicated,” she added.
Her brother, Hussain Nawaz, questioned as to how Mr Malik’s affidavit was leaked to malign the Sharif family and the PTI government’s propaganda machine was let loose. “Isn’t this a conspiracy. This all should be investigated,” he demanded.
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said: “No legal justification is left to keep Nawaz Sharif behind bars after removal of judge Malik from his office. Annulling of the verdict against Mr Sharif is a direct consequence of the judge’s expulsion. It confirms the fact that the video and its contents are authentic.”
The former information minister said the entire process of convicting Mr Sharif was compromised.
Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2019