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Thursday, May 30, 2024

PTI meltdown has shamed politics of loyalty and faith, says Arshad Malik video scandal character

Mian Saleem Raza said he, like many other political workers, has been shocked to see how PTI leaders including Imran Khan have showed cowardice and failure of character by either refusing to face jail time or cracking within hours of going to jail.

One of the main characters in judge Arshad Malik’s Nawaz Sharif related video scandal has said the mass exodus of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) frontline leaders has shamed politics of loyalty, faith and principles as PTI leaders have cried, begged, ran like cowards and surrendered without putting up a fight and its leader Imran Khan refused to himself go to jail while asking children of poor people for martyrdom to facilitate his return to Pakistan.

London-exiled Mian Saleem Raza was one of the major characters in Judge Arshad Malik video scandal along with Nasir Butt, Mian Nasir Janjua and others. He came under direct attack from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under direct orders of former prime minister Imran Khan and his accountability chief Shahzad Akbar, and was victimised for several years for his role in the scandal.

Mian Saleem Raza said he suffered for many years and his name continues to be on Exit Control List (ECL) even under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government but he refused offers of govt bribes, deals and lucrative offers to give a false affidavit against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.

Read more: Who has Nawaz Sharif blamed for current state of Pakistan?

Mian Saleem Raza said he, like many other political workers, has been shocked to see how PTI leaders including Imran Khan have showed cowardice and failure of character by either refusing to face jail time or cracking within hours of going to jail. He said that it has brought shame to Pakistani politics how Fawad Chaudhary, Ali Zaidi, Asad Umar, Imran Ismail, Fayyaz Chohan and others have abandoned their leader and party workers by making deals and refusing to face hardships.

The FIA registered cases against Mian Saleem Raza, destroyed his business and declared him as “most wanted terrorist” when he refused to give a false statement against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. The FIA also met him in London in November 2019 asking him to hold a press conference against Nawaz Sharif.

I chose to leave Pakistan and face financial and personal losses rather than accept a deal from the Imran Khan administration as my conscience didn’t allow me to lie about Nawaz Sharif who went to jail like a brave man with his daughter Maryam Nawaz in a completely cooked up case, said Mian Saleem Raza.

When the scandal of judge Arshed Malik broke out it was alleged by Shahzad Akbar during TV interviews that it was Mian Saleem Raza who had paid 20 million Rupees to Mian Tariq to buy an objectionable video of the accountability judge. Mian Saleem Raza, however, has rejected all allegations against him made by the FIA and Shahzad Akbar. It was Nasir Butt who secretly filmed the judge on his own as Arshed Malik was in touch with Mian Saleem Raza, Nasir Butt and some others separately.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif forbids PM Shehbaz Sharif from accepting Imran Khan’s demands

Mian Saleem Raza fled from Lahore for Thailand and then to Europe two days after Maryam Nawaz Sharif held a press conference in Lahore on 6 July 2019, releasing a video of judge Arshed Malik openly confessing that he was blackmailed and pressurised to convict Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference in 2018. In the video, the judge can also been seen apologising to Nawaz Sharif and expressing his regret for convicting Nawaz Sharif.

In mid-November 2019, the FIA placed names of Nasir Butt and Mian Saleem Raza on the list of “most wanted” terrorists in the country after the an Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad dismissed the FIA’s plea seeking to try Mian Saleem Raza and others under the anti-terrorism law.

Mian Saleem Raza said the judge had himself approached him, visited his home and told him that he was regretful of convicting Nawaz Sharif after being blackmailed through an objectionable video by unknown men.

The Counter-Terrorism Wing of the FIA added Butt and Mian Saleem Raza to its list of most wanted terrorists named in its latest Red Book alleging: “Nasir Butt & Mian Saleem Raza are involved in Arshad Malik (Judge) Video scandal which was subsequently charged by him for blackmailing, criminal intimidation.”

Mian Saleem Raza said for three years the FIA continued to make offers to him but he refused and decided to stand by his leadership in hard times. He said: “There was no truth to the false story the FIA was asking me to tell that Nawaz Sharif had asked me to meet judge Arshed Malik. Nawaz Sharif never ever discussed anything with me and none of his family members ever brought this subject up. The FIA was not ready to listen or accept the truth. Its officers told me Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar wanted a statement against Nawaz Sharif and a press conference to condemn Nawaz Sharif. I chose to leave everything behind and sign up to a financial ruin instead of stabbing my leader in the back.”

Read more: Imran was imposed on nation by stealing Nawaz Sharif’s mandate: Marriyum

The activist said that it was inspirational that Nawaz Sharif went to jail with his daughter while his wife was on a deathbed in London. “Nawaz Sharif didn’t ask his workers to make sacrifices for him. He didn’t abuse the process and engaged with the judicial process. He stood against tyranny, he suffered injustice but didn’t urge attacks on national institutions. Imran Khan asked his followers to attack the Pakistan Army for his political interests and this has taken the whole party to a point of no return. If Imran Khan stood for principles of civilian supremacy, personal sacrifice and truth like Nawaz Sharif did then his workers and leaders wouldn’t jump the sinking PTI ship in the humiliating manner they did.”

Mian Saleem Raza’s name in the “most wanted terrorists” list was added after one of the main accused Tariq Mehmood told the FIA on 1st October 2019 in an alleged confessional statement that he had sold out the immoral video of former accountability court judge Arshad Malik to Mian Saleem Raza for Rs 20 million. Mian Saleem Raza has said that’s a lie and that statement was extracted from Mian Tariq after he was tortured in custody by the FIA and treated like a terrorist to the extent that half of his body was paralysed.