IHC decides to remove Arshad Malik as accountability judge

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 13, 2019

A senior Pakistani judge accused of convicting the jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case "under pressure" has been removed from his office, the country's law ministry said.

On July 6, Maryam had released a purported video of Accountability Court judge Arshad Malik telling a PML-N worker that there was a lack of evidence against her father and jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case and that he was "pressurised and blackmailed" to convict him.

The court's spokesman said that acting chief justice of IHC Justice Amir Farooq has written a letter to law ministry, seeking to withdraw services of Arshad Malik.

The judge had released a statement and termed the leaked video played by PML-N leaders during their press conference fake, fabricated and out of context.

In a post on Twitter after the IHC decision, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the case against Nawaz Sharif should be declared void.

The accountability judge said that "he has been bribed multiple times by the agents of PML-N and had also been given threats if he failed to cooperate".

Maryam alleged that the judge had contacted Nasir Butt, a PML-N worker, and told him that he was feeling guilty and having nightmares ever since he announced the verdict that led to Nawaz Sharif's imprisonment. He demanded legal action against those involved in producing the video tape. In December, the accountability court judge had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison in the same corruption case.

Malik's removal on Friday prompted immediate calls by Sharif's PML-N party for the release of the 69-year-old former prime minister, who is now serving a seven-year jail sentence in the Kot Lakhpat jail in the eastern city of Lahore. She said that corruption allegations were made on Nawaz Sharif but no proves were shown, adding that everyone knows this is not accountability but victimization.

However, Judge Malik, refuted the claims and dubbed the video as a "conspiracy" to "affect his credibility".

Moreover, it said, the allegations levelled Maryam Nawaz, if found to be untrue, amounted to committing a grave contempt, adding that it was in the interest of the judiciary to direct the federal government to take appropriate measures for ensuring the independence of judiciary.

At the end of the press conference, she said that she has much bigger proof than this.

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