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Video leak has made accountability process doubtful: PML-N

Updated July 14, 2019

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said the removed accountability judge, Arshad Malik, had charge-sheeted himself through the affidavit he had submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC). — Photo courtesy CNN/File
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said the removed accountability judge, Arshad Malik, had charge-sheeted himself through the affidavit he had submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC). — Photo courtesy CNN/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said the removed accountability judge, Arshad Malik, had charge-sheeted himself through the affidavit he had submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Addressing a news conference with the party’s information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb and Senator Musadik Malik at the National Press Club, Mr Abbasi said the video leak of the judge who had convicted party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia corruption reference had made “the entire judicial system and the so-called accountability process doubtful”.

The PML-N leader said they fully respected the courts and they were not talking against any institution, but at the same time they wanted that people should have trust in courts.

Accusing the government of pressurising the judiciary, Mr Abbasi said if the government could “buy or coerce” one judge, then it could do so with other judges as well.

Party terms the judge’s affidavit a charge-sheet against himself

The former PM said there were contradictions in the initial press statement issued by the accountability judge and the affidavit which he later submitted to the high court.

Arshad Malik, who called on the IHC’s acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq twice this week, submitted a letter to him along along with an affidavit claiming that he was blackmailed owing to another ‘damaging’ video that he termed a “manipulated immoral video in a compromising position” recorded somewhere in Multan.

In his affidavit, Arshad Malik claimed that when Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against Nawaz Sharif were transferred to his court, he was approached multiple times by associates and supporters of the PML-N supremo.

According to the judge, due to fear of the “Multan video” he met Nawaz Sharif at Jati Umra on April 6, Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia on June 1, and a PML-N sympathiser, Nasir Butt, pressurised him to get his assistance in preparation of grounds for appeals in the two references.

Mr Abbasi claimed that the judge was concocting stories to save his skin.

“All this shows that something is fishy and the involvement of the present government in it is evident,” he said. “The affidavit of the judge sahib is itself a charge-sheet against him. After his own admissions, no one requires to say anything.”

Mr Abbasi said it was ironic that a grade-21 judge who had been hearing cases against the three-time prime minister had given the verdict under pressure.

He questioned as to why the accountability judge did not take up the intimidation and threats with the senior judge who had been appointed by the Supreme Court to supervise the whole proceedings and why he did not report the matter to the police, if he was facing threats.

“This is not a little thing. The removal of the judge has created more doubts in the minds of the public. The higher judiciary needs to take notice of the whole situation,” he said.

Mr Abbasi said the damage caused to the judiciary by this attack by the government could only be repaired by the action of the higher judiciary.

He claimed that they had more evidence with them, but they had decided not to make them public as it could further damage the country’s judicial system.

Mr Abbasi expressed his surprise over the defence of the removed judge by the government ministers after Prime Minister Imran Khan had distanced his government from the whole affair.

The ex-PM said that after the removal of the judge, Nawaz Sharif was now in “illegal custody”.

Mr Abbasi asked the judiciary to take notice of the situation and punish all those involved in the case.

He said PML-N fully respected judiciary and they did not try to degrade any honourable judge.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2019