LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Saturday made Islamabad accountability court’s former judge Arshad Malik officer on special duty (OSD) from the date of his suspension.

“The Hon’able Chief Justice and Judges are pleased to post Muhammad Arshad Malik, District & Sessions Judge/awaiting posting, Lahore High Court, Lahore as Officer on Special Duty (BS-21) at Sessions Court, Lahore with effect from Aug 22, 2019,” said a notification issued by LHC Registrar Abdul Sattar.

The Islamabad High Court had suspended and repatriated D&SJ Malik to the LHC, his parent department, for further disciplinary proceedings in light of his affidavit he filed after a video scandal.

“The affidavit, prima facie, constitutes acts of misconduct and violation of the code of conduct, which warrant initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him,” the IHC acting registrar had stated in the suspension/repatriation notification.

Later, a seven-member administration committee of the LHC, headed by Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan, took up the matter at a meeting on Aug 26 and approved an inquiry into the matter by a judge of the high court.

However, the minutes of the meeting were not released to media officially.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had accused D&SJ Malik of convicting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference under duress; however, the judge claimed that he had been blackmailed by PML-N supporters. He had acquitted Mr Sharif in the Flagship Investments reference.

After PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz released video clips of Judge Malik at a press conference, the IHC summoned him and directed him to submit an affidavit to explain his position. At present, Ms Maryam and her cousin Yousaf Abbas are in the custody of NAB for an inquiry into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills corruption case.

Later, Judge Malik in his affidavit stated that he had been blackmailed by the PML-N supporters because of an “immoral video” and admitted that he had met Mr Sharif at his Jati Umra residence and Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also launched an inquiry into the video scandal and arrested three persons, Nasir Janjua, Mehr Ghulam Jillani and Khurram Yousaf. They were charged with pressurising and blackmailing Judge Malik.

However, they were released last week after the agency told a magistrate that no evidence was found against the suspects.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019