News Desk |
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has remarked that the conduct of former accountability court Judge Arshad Malik has caused all honest, hard-working and dedicated judges to bow their heads in shame.
The CJP said that thousands of honest and upright judges in the country felt ashamed due to judge Malik’s actions. The remarks came during the hearing of the controversial video scandal case involving Judge Malik.
SC’s three-member bench headed by CJP Khosa and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard three identical petitions filed by Ishtiaq Ahmed Mirza, Sohail Akhtar and Tariq Asad, who have sought a directive from the apex court for the constitution of a probe committee or a judicial commission.
The CJP observed that one of the key suspects in the case, Nasir Janjua, had said that he played a key role in the judge’s appointment.
On July 12, the Islamabad High Court had removed Judge Malik from his post amid a controversy surrounding a leaked videotape showing his purported confession that he had been “pressurized and blackmailed” to convict ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia corruption reference.
Following the hearing, the SC bench remarked that an appropriate order would be passed in a couple of days.
Are Videos Real?
During the course of proceedings, the CJP observed that the case was related to two videos, including the one through which the judge was blackmailed while the other was made public by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice President Maryam Nawaz at a press conference.
Since Judge Malik has already stated that the objectionable video was real, Justice Khosa said, inquiring how could the veracity of the other one played at Maryam’s press conference be confirmed.
Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan said a forensic examination of the first video had been carried out, but it was difficult to ascertain the authenticity of the second one played at Maryam’s press conference because it was taken from YouTube.
To this, CJP Khosa remarked that experts should be consulted as to whether a forensic audit of the video could be done. To the question if anyone has moved the high court to get relief on the basis of the video, the attorney general replied in the negative.
CJP Wonders if Government is Protecting Judge Malik
While discussing the interim report of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the CJP observed that one of the key suspects in the case, Nasir Janjua, had said that he played a key role in the judge’s appointment.
He wondered why the federal government had not repatriated Judge Malik to the Lahore High Court (LHC) for initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him.
“Is the federal government protecting the judge by keeping his services with them,” the chief justice wondered, adding that the situation was dangerous as a judge became susceptible or vulnerable to blackmailing or being influenced, be it by the government or any individual, when he had a skeleton in the closet.
The attorney general replied that Judge Malik had not been relieved by the federal government due to the ongoing investigation against him.