SC to take up Nawaz’s review petition in judge video case today

Updated 10 Dec 2019

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The Supreme Court will take up on Tuesday (today) a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking review of the Aug 23 order which held that the video clip concerning former accountability court judge Mohammad Arshad Malik will only benefit the petitioner if its genuineness is established. — DawnNewsTV/File
The Supreme Court will take up on Tuesday (today) a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking review of the Aug 23 order which held that the video clip concerning former accountability court judge Mohammad Arshad Malik will only benefit the petitioner if its genuineness is established. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will take up on Tuesday (today) a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking review of the Aug 23 order which held that the video clip concerning former accountability court judge Mohammad Arshad Malik will only benefit the petitioner if its genuineness is established.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, the SC bench comprises Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

The review petition will be argued by senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed on behalf of Mr Sharif.

The review petition pleads that the Aug 23 verdict of the apex court was per incuriam since it was passed without jurisdiction and, therefore, merits to be reviewed.

An SC bench headed by CJP Khosa, while disposing of a set of identical petitions in the video scandal case, had held that the video clip of Arshad Malik would only benefit the former premier if it was properly produced before the Islamabad High Court in a pending appeal against his conviction.

Ex-PM pleads apex court’s Aug 23 verdict was passed without jurisdiction

The video clip along with its transcripts, which was shown by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz in her media interaction in Lahore, had never been duly proved in accordance with the law, the order had said.

But in his review petition, Mr Sharif contended before the Supreme Court that the audio or video recording was admissible under Article 164 of the Qanun-i-Shahadat Order (QSO), 1984; besides, the law did not impose any conditions that only evidence obtained through modern devices would be admissible which were recorded by persons whose part of routine duties was to record audio or video.

Moreover, such observations reflect that as if the court was saying that the process of trial and evidence recorded during the trial were not affected by the conduct of the trial court judge.

The petition contended that there was no precedent or support of law to micro-manage jurisdictional functions of the appellate court (IHC) that too in a prospective or anticipated list of cases.

What was the possible motive for the retention of Arshad Malik in Islamabad for almost six weeks after his release /removal from duties as judge of the accountability court despite the clear intention expressed in the IHC registrar’s July 11 letter for relieving him of his duties so that he could be repatriated to his parent department i.e. the Lahore High Court, the petition asked.

Can it be assumed, the petition contended, that Arshad Malik was being retained in Islamabad only to use him to submit an application for registration of an FIR as a counterblast to off-set the impact of the video and audio recording played at the press briefing held on July 6 in Lahore.

The petition wondered whether the district and sessions judge, after being relieved from duties, could lodge an FIR without permission or approval of the IHC chief justice, which was his parent department.

The petition highlighted that the appeal against the conviction of Mr Sharif under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, was pending before the IHC. Therefore, it added, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction under any provision of the NAO or even otherwise to pre-empt the decision with respect to any manner that fell within the jurisdiction of the high court concerned in its appellate jurisdiction.

The Aug 23 order had been issued by the apex court in respect to issues that were pertinent to the appeals pending before the IHC, the petition explained.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019