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Ministry examining legal options over judge’s repatriation

Updated July 17, 2019

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A screengrab from a video shown by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz at a press conference shows judge Arshad Malik (R) in conversation with PML-N supporter Nasir Butt (L). — DawnNewsTV/File
A screengrab from a video shown by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz at a press conference shows judge Arshad Malik (R) in conversation with PML-N supporter Nasir Butt (L). — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The law and justice ministry is examining legal options to repatriate accountability court judge Arshad Malik to his parent department — Lahore High Court.

Sources in the ministry told Dawn that judge Malik, who was removed by the Islamabad High Court over the leaked video scandal on July 12, had reported to the ministry.

Normally, an official relieved by the borrowing department is repatriated to his parent department. However, the sources said, since this was not an ordinary case and was sub judice before the Supreme Court, the law ministry wanted to complete all legal formalities.

Arshad Malik has been removed by IHC over video scandal

While the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz accused Mr Malik of convicting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference under duress, the judge claimed that he had been blackmailed by PML-N supporters.

After PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz released video clips of Mr Malik at a press conference, IHC Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq summoned the accountability judge twice and then sought his affidavit.

Judge Malik in his affidavit said he had been blackmailed by the PML-N supporters because of an alleged immoral video and he met Mr Sharif at his Jati Umra residence and Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia.

Subsequently, Justice Farooq ordered immediate removal of Arshad Malik and the IHC registrar wrote to the law ministry that “he [judge] may be removed/relieved from his duties by the competent authority forthwith so that he can be repatriated to his parent department i.e. Lahore High Court, Lahore”.

However, a senior official of the law ministry said the IHC had not issued a charge sheet to the judge on the basis of which he would be sent back to his parent department for initiation of disciplinary proceedings.

He said the law ministry was taking time to repatriate the judge because IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was on leave, the LHC chief justice was abroad and Law Minister Dr Farogh Nasim was also travelling these days.

The official said the Supreme Court had also taken cognizance of the matter and was hearing three identical petitions relating to the video leak scandal, adding that the law ministry was also examining whether a judge whose case was sub judice before the apex court could be repatriated forthwith or not.

When contacted, Law Secretary Arshad Farooq Faheem said judge Malik had reported to the ministry and he had been barred from presiding over the accountability court. He said the status of judge Malik was “awaiting posting” and he would be repatriated or posted in accordance with legal provisions.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2019