Maryam asks ex-CJP not to hide behind institution

Published November 25, 2021
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing a press conference. (Right) Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar responding to Ms Nawaz’s remarks.—Tanveer Shahzad — White Star / APP
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing a press conference. (Right) Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar responding to Ms Nawaz’s remarks.—Tanveer Shahzad — White Star / APP

ISLAMABAD: While claiming successive events have exposed the conspiracy hatched against her party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz has said it is about time the judiciary and army did some introspection, saying individuals such as former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar and an ex-spymaster should not hide behind their institutions.

Addressing a press conference, Ms Nawaz claimed that at least five testimonies had emerged to substantiate the PML-N’s stance that ex-CJP Nisar was actively involved in the conspiracy to disqualify a thrice-elected prime minister and sending him and herself to jail.

She said former justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who publicly admitted interference in the constitution of judicial benches, disclosed in his petition, which was still pending before the SC, that the spymaster wanted to prolong her and her father’s detention until after the 2018 general elections.

She said the late judge of the accountability court Arshad Malik also confessed to convicting Mr Sharif under duress, the then CJP Asif Saeed Khosa termed this ‘a stigma for judiciary’ and the judge’s service was terminated but the conviction of Mr Sharif still stood.

Ministers say her confession of buying media houses warrants official probe

She said the affidavit of ex-chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Mohammad Shamim also lent strength to what Justice Siddiqui and Judge Malik had come up with. Also, the alleged audio of ex-CJP Nisar substantiated he was following someone’s orders for convicting the Sharif family, while former director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon, too, had made certain revelations about the victimisation, she added.

She alleged that Justice Nisar misused his authority to victimize the PML-N. “This is the first-ever case in which the Supreme Court has become a party by directing National Accountability Bureau of filing references against the Sharif family, constituted joint investigation team comprising so-called ‘jewel’ through WhatsApp calls,” she said.

She further alleged the ex-CJP Nisar refused to face courts over the affidavit and the leaked audio saying “he is not insane and will not approach any court of law”. She then recalled that an ‘insane’ elected prime minister had appeared before a BS-18 officer in connection with Panama Papers probe.

According to her, the appointment of a monitoring judge in the Sharif family case was also unprecedented.

The PML-N leader further alleged that ex-CJP Nisar removed her father from the office of PML-N president, participated in the election campaign of Sheikh Rashid, did not allow PML-N’s candidate to contest the Senate elections with party symbol.

She said the ex-CJP set different standards for Prime Minister Imran Khan by accepting his ‘fake’ money trail, overlooking the union council’s testimony about ‘forged’ permission for the construction of his palatial house at Banigala.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing a press conference. (Right) Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar responding to Ms Nawaz’s remarks.—Tanveer Shahzad — White Star / APP
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing a press conference. (Right) Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar responding to Ms Nawaz’s remarks.—Tanveer Shahzad — White Star / APP

She claimed that ex-CJP Asif Saeed Khosa had encouraged Mr Khan to pursue the petition seeking disqualification of her father despite the fact that the registrar office of the apex court had termed it ‘frivolous’.

According to her, the leaked audio and the self-explanatory facts did not need any affidavit to be legitimized.

The PML-N vice president said that soon after the audio leak, ex-CJP Nisar termed it ‘fake’, but when a private TV channel claimed it was edited the ex-CJP ‘recognized’ his audio. She then thanked the channel for what she said reminding Justice Nisar of his voice and expressed the hope that the channel would soon run the speech on air in which the ex-CJP talked about bringing Mr Khan into power and convicting the PML-N leadership.

She requested the judiciary and the army not to compromise their prestige in what she called an attempt “to rescue individuals who allegedly brought their respective institutions to disrepute”.

Earlier, the PML-N vice president appeared before the Islamabad High Court division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

Since her counsel Irfan Qadir sought adjournment on account of his appearance before the SC, the bench allowed the application and adjourned hearing till December 21.

Govt reaction

Later in a joint press conference, federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Hammad Azhar criticised Maryam Nawaz for maligning the judiciary.

Mr Chaudhry said since Ms Nawaz in her presser had admitted to have headed PML-N’s media cell and interfered into the release of government ads to media groups, she confessed to committing an offence that may be fall within the FIA ambit.

“Disbursement of public fund by a private person is a schedule offence of the FIA,” he said.

He said her media cell had given advertisements for billions of rupees to their party’s favourite media houses and also paid handsomely to journalists to buy their loyalties.

“We have decided to inquire this matter at the level of the ministry of information,” Mr Chaudhry said. However, he said, their next course of action would be made public later.

Mr Azhar said her confession of buying media houses was ‘intolerable’. “We have asked the provinces for the details of advertisements released to media houses during the PML-N regime and we will also examine the journalists who got plots or monitory benefit by the PML-N media cell,” the minister said.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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