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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Leaked video controversy: Will IHC take administrative action against Judge Arshad Malik?

The recently released footage of an accountability court going on about Nawaz's innocence is doing rounds on social media and it raises some serious concerns. Concerns even CJP, Supreme Court and the government will have to face.

News Analysis |

According to several media reports, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) met acting chief justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday to discuss the matter related to leaked video of accountability judge Arshad Malik. Reports speculated that in 40-minutes long meeting both judicial heads discussed the matter and the IHC chief supposed briefed the CJP about his meeting with Judge Arshad Malik.

The PML-N had released a video clip purportedly showing an accountability court judge allegedly admitting to a lack of evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

The source believes that the purpose of the video was to let the nation know about what is going on, not to bring it before the court.

The government has decided not to meddle into the matter saying “the judiciary has to look into the matter”. Now analysts and legal experts are looking towards the superior judiciary as to how does it take the matter up?

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah has noted that the IHC can take administrative action against the accountability judge under the relevant disciplinary and efficiency rules especially after the judge had admitted that he had long association with the individual (Nasir Butt) who often visits him. He is the same man who captured and leaked the video of the judge.

Moreover, during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court Sardar Shahmim had reportedly observed that if voice experts confirmed Judge Malik’s voice in the video, strict action could be taken against him.

Read more: Leaked Video of Judge Arshad Malik: How will it Impact the Ongoing Cases against the Sharifs?

Furthermore, analysts believe that the story has been made up for wider political interest. There is a common perception that the objective was to create a political situation that may help pressurize the courts so that they may offer some relief to Nawaz Sharif. Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent political commentator has tweeted that “So is there a script? CJ Asif Khosa will be pushed by media to provide relief to Nawaz Sharif through Maryam’s political stunt? Game plan & players getting obvious!”

Dr. Pirzada has repeatedly maintained that Nasir Butt who happens to be someone who was visiting the judge in probate capacity should be probed for leaking a video containing personal discussion. He based his argument on the premise that many foreign diplomats and ministers often meet journalists and frequently share off-the-record information as well. No journalist is ever expected to leak the video of such discussion. He urged Pakistani media and public intellectuals to approach the matter from this standpoint which is vital to ensure privacy and grace expected in a democracy.

Some legal experts believe that the video has been created only for political purposes and that it had nothing to do with legal procedures. A lawyer said on ARY TV that if the video had some legal significance it must have been presented as evidence before a court of law. It would have vindicated PML-N’s version, he added. Since the party brought the matter on media and made it a political matter there is a chance that the court may intervene.

Read more: Maryam Nawaz demands PM Khan’s Resignation

Reliable sources in PML-N told GVS that the PML-N is not interested to provide the same video clips before a court of law to seek concession for Nawaz and his daughter. The source believes that the purpose of the video was to let the nation know about what is going on, not to bring it before the court. However, if the leaked video is not presented before the court as evidence, it’s unlikely to affect the case.