ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has assigned the inquiry into the judge video scandal to an officer facing a probe himself by its special investigation unit on a charge of misusing his position for the benefit of suspects in corruption cases, a lawyer said during a hearing in the Islamabad High Court on Thursday of a petition seeking contempt proceedings against the FIA chief and another official for allegedly harassing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued notices to Wajid Zia, the FIA director general, and assistant director Ijaz Ahmed Sheikh asking them to appear in court during a hearing next week.
Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon, the petitioner, produced a copy of the FIR registered against Ijaz Ahmed Sheikh accusing him of damaging the case by giving “false and fabricated” statements in favour of suspects.
According to the FIR, registered on the complaint of a deputy attorney general on May 27, 2016, Ijaz Sheikh “despite being on leave, appeared in the court of Justice Khalid Mehmood Khan of the Lahore High Court on May 2, 2016, without any notice from the court […] and gave conceding statement in favour of accused persons […] and gave false, fabricated and quite contrary to the record statements before the court”.
Because of the FIA assistant director’s “false testimony”, the court decided the case in favour of the accused persons, the FIR stated.
Barrister Jadoon informed the court that although Ijaz Sheikh was still facing trial in the case before a special judge in Islamabad, he had been assigned a high profile case like the judge video scandal.
The case is based on a video footage released by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz during a press conference in July purporting to show Arshad Malik, a former accountability judge, making a statement that he had convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia reference under duress.
On the other hand, the judge had alleged in his affidavit that the PML-N’s supporters were blackmailing him on the basis of a video clip recorded sometime in 2002 when he was serving as an additional district and sessions judge in Multan.
During a hearing of the petition, the Supreme Court had observed that judge Arshad Malik’s actions had brought disgrace to honest judges.
Mr Jadoon contended before the IHC that even though the investigation officer (Ijaz Sheikh) had stated on oath that he would not harass anyone, he had issued notices to senior politicians and conducted raids on a PML-N office in Lahore “in defiance of the court’s orders”.
According to the petition, the FIA official had “made a mockery of the judicial process and in fact disrupted and went on to defeat the process of the court”.
The petitioner requested the Islamabad High Court to initiate contempt proceedings against FIA chief Wajid Zia and assistant director Ijaz Sheikh for using their official position for “political victimisation”.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2020