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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

LHC dismisses the judge who was blackmailed by PML-N supporters

Judge Arshad Malik has been dismissed after his private video was leaked. The judge had also claimed that the former ruling party supporters blackmailed him. How will Judge Malik’s sacking impact ongoing cases against Sharifs?

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice terminated the services of controversial accountability judge Arshad Malik on Friday. According to sources, the decision was announced by the administration committee presided over by the high court’s chief justice. As the LHC dismisses the judge, the PML-N leadership seems to be celebrating the decision.

Justice Mohammad Ameer Bhatti, Justice Ahmad Khan, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Shahid Waeed and Justice Ali Baqir took part in the committee meeting.

Malik had convicted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a NAB in the Al-Azizia reference.

The judge in a complaint filed with the FIA Cyber Crime Wing, had claimed that he had been blackmailed by PML-N supporters. Judge Malik also submitted an affidavit with FIA admitting on July 14, 2019, of his meetings with ex-premier Sharif and others, also involved in purported immoral act decades back.

Read More: Judge Arshad Malik: A hard pill to swallow for PML-N

The judge maintained that the PML-N leadership was behind the leak video. “I have been blackmailed by the PML-N supporters,” he told the court.

LHC dismisses the judge: Shehbaz Sharif reacts 

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif thanked God for the LHC’s move to dismiss the judge and said that it proved that Malik’s judgment against his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was not based on justice.

He demanded the decision against Nawaz be taken back in light of the judge’s dismissal.

Judge Arshad Malik video controversy

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz had alleged last year 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’s imprisonment.

The judge was “blackmailed” into handing down the sentence against Nawaz Sharif after some people threatened that they would release a private video of his, she had alleged.

Judge Malik, after becoming embroiled in the so-called judge video scandal, had penned a letter to the IHC in July wherein he had refuted Maryam’s claims and revealed other information related to the controversy.

In an affidavit submitted to the court, Malik had denied the contents of the video — which purportedly showed him admitting to a lack of evidence against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — and termed them edited, fabricated, and aimed to defame him.

Maryam had claimed that the judge was under immense pressure to send the former prime minister to jail and that he had contemplated committing suicide several times since. She said the judge did not write the verdict but “was made to write” the prison sentence for Nawaz Sharif.

Read More: Judge Arshad Malik: One Accused Confesses To Have Made Video

Responding to the allegations, the accountability court judge had called the video presented by the PML-N as fake and fallacious. He had demanded legal action against those involved in producing the videotape.

A private video was made public, where is the law?

Analysts suggested the government to carry out thorough investigations into the matter in order to ensure that judges have legal protection. Dr. Moeed 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 a 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: IHC directs Judge Arshad Malik to hear two remaining references against Sharifs

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.

As the LHC dismisses the judge, the former ruling party is demanding the cases to be dismissed against the senior leadership. But the question is; will the same video be presented as evidence before the court?