In the latest development, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed an accountability court that an accused Faisal Shaheen in video leak case had confessed to having made a video of former accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik. For political commentators, the leaked video is no longer of any use since the courts have declined to offer any legal concessions on the basis of the said video. The PML-N wanted to get Nawaz Sharif released after they showed the video to the media and general public. But it could not generate expected public pressure which did not lead to the immediate release of Nawaz.
According to media reports, the FIA produced the accused Faisal Shaheen and Hamza Arif Butt, a nephew of the main figure in the video leak controversy Nasir Butt, before the anti-terrorism court (ATC). The ATC sent accused Shaheen on seven days judicial remand while the physical remand of Hamza extended for another three days.
ATC sent accused Faisal Shaheen on seven days judicial remand.https://t.co/jioeo7booH
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) October 15, 2019
Moreover, the Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW) of the FIA arrested both the accused after the director-general FIA transferred the video leaks inquiry from Cyber Crime Circle to CTW. Judge Malik accused Cyber Crimes Circle of letting three suspects, Nasir Janjua, Khurram Yousaf and Mahar Ghulam Jilani, go after ‘friendly interrogation’.
Judge Malik’s reckless private discussion got leaked and the PML-N presented its case on the basis of the Judge’s conversation with one of the party’s workers. For many people including Dr. Moeed Pirzada the leaked video was a blatant breach of privacy and Pakistan’s judiciary must have looked into it.
Judge Malik Suspended
The IHC suspended and repatriated, district & sessions judge Arshad Malik to the LHC, his parent department, for disciplinary proceedings. “The disclosure and admission made by Mr Muhammad Arshad Malik, district & sessions judge/and former judge, accountability court-II Islamabad, in a press release dated July 7 and the affidavit dated July 11 prima facie constitute acts of misconduct and violation of the code of conduct, which warrant initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him,” said a notification issued by the IHC’s acting registrar.
The PML-N accused judge Malik of convicting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia reference under duress. However, the judge claims he was blackmailed by PML-N supporters.
Maryam Nawaz along with other senior leaders of the party held a press conference and showed video of Judge Arshad Malik, Judge of accountability court who convicted Nawaz Sharif in Avenfiled reference. The leaked video, claimed Maryam, confirmed that the judge was under pressure and compelled to convict Nawaz contrary to the facts. According to Maryam, the video was secretly made by a PML-N activist Nasir Butt who happens to be Judge Arshad Malik’s friend.
Later on, the judge not only termed the video fabricated and misleading but also submitted an affidavit before the IHC and clarified that he was not only offered bribe by the Sharif family but also threatened of dire consequences if he does not resign. Judge Arshad Malik explained his meetings with the Sharif family and their representatives and disclosed that he was under pressure to take the money and not convict the PML-N supremo.
— zemtvs (@Zemtvs) October 14, 2019
However, the judge’s general conduct has been considered inappropriate by many political commentators and legal experts. As the SC has announced that the video does not have any legal significance for anybody since it needs to be presented before the IHC by the PML-N as fresh evidence to ensure relief for Nawaz. But the judge’s conduct irreplaceable loss to the judiciary and its public image.
Judge’s Disgusting Conduct
The Supreme Court recently wrapped up a set of petitions on the video leak scandal. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), in the Supreme Court judgment, had heavily reprimanded judge Malik for his conduct. “His admitted conduct emerging from that press release and the affidavit stinks and the stench of such stinking conduct has the tendency to bring a bad name to the entire judiciary as an institution,” the judgment read.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa even went on saying “his [Arshad Malik] sordid and disgusting conduct has made the thousands of honest, upright, fair and proper judges in the country hang their heads in shame.”