‘Institution’, judge accused of pressurising Arshad to convict Nawaz

Email

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: Nasir Butt, the main character behind the judge’s video scandal, has claimed in an affidavit submitted in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that an ‘institution’ as well as a judge pressurised former accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik to convict former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Mr Malik convicted Mr Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference, but acquitted him in the Flagship Investment reference.

In a related development, the IHC on an application filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) allowed the prosecution to place additional evidence related to the assets of the Sharif family on court record in the Flagship Investment reference.

The affidavit of Mr Butt contradicted the allegations levelled by Mr Malik.

It may be mentioned that following the release of a video by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz in a press conference in which Mr Malik confessed to convicting Mr Sharif under duress, the former judge issued a press release and an affidavit that claimed that Nasir Butt, Nasir Janjua, Mahar Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf had blackmailed him for the acquittal of Mr Sharif.

IHC allows NAB to place additional evidence related to Sharif family’s assets on record

Mr Butt rejected all allegations levelled against him by ex-judge Malik, saying that he had never threatened or blackmailed him. Had the ex-judge ever been threatened by anyone he should have informed about it to his senior officials, Mr Butt added.

Mr Butt further stated that he never knew existence of any immoral video of Mr Malik, adding that the ex-judge himself disclosed this fact and admitted that an institution and a judge pressurised him to convict Mr Sharif.

According to the affidavit of Mr Butt, some other personalities also pressurised Mr Malik for Sharif’s conviction.

Mr Butt claimed that ex-judge Malik had repeatedly expressed his desire to meet Mr Sharif for seeking his forgiveness over the conviction, but the former prime minister had refused to meet him. On Mr Malik’s insistence, however, Mr Sharif had finally agreed to meet him, he added.

Mr Butt also reproduced the conversation of Mr Malik with Mr Sharif in which the ex-judge allegedly explained factors behind his decision to convict him.

The IHC will take up Mr Butt’s affidavit as well as his petition seeking to place evidence against ex-judge Malik on the IHC’s record on Oct 29.

Physical remand

Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday rejected the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) request seeking extension in the physical remand of Hamza Arif Butt, a nephew of Nasir Butt, in the judge’s video scandal case.

ATC Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan asked the FIA about the progress of last 10 days, the period in which Hamza Butt was in its custody.

The investigation officer, Ijaz Ahmed Shah, told the court that FIA had to recover laptops and some other evidence from the custody of the accused.

Arshad Khan Jadoon, counsel of Hamza Butt, informed the ATC that the evidence related to video of judge Arshad Malik had already been placed before the IHC.

He said the laptop in question had also been submitted before the IHC and the high court would take up the case on Oct 29.

Subsequently, the ATC judge rejected the FIA’s request and sent Hamza Butt to Adiala Jail on judicial remand.

Flagship Investment reference

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani allowed NAB to place additional evidence on judicial record in connection with the appeal filed by the bureau against the acquittal of Mr Sharif in the Flagship Investment reference.

NAB’s additional prosecutor general Jahanzeb Bharwana informed the court that the bureau wanted to place a graph showing details of assets owned by the Sharif family on judicial record.

According to the prosecution, the graph correlates the Sharif family’s movable and immovable properties in Pakistan and abroad and it may be placed on record as it is vital for the prosecution case.

The IHC bench after hearing the short arguments allowed the request and ordered the registrar office to fix the appeal before the bench accordingly.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2019