News Analysis |
In a latest development, the Lahore High Court (LHC) is all set to announce its initial verdict regarding the future of former accountability Judge Arshad Malik today. According to details, a seven-member administration committee of the LHC held a closed-door meeting on Monday to decide the fate of Islamabad accountability court’s former judge Arshad Malik, who was suspended last week over the video leak controversy. Legal experts believe that the judge is likely to be removed from service as the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court (IHC) have respectively noted that the judge has caused heavy loss to the image of the judiciary.
Decisions taken at the meeting will be made public on Tuesday (today), according to the court’s public relations office. Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim headed the meeting.
It is important to note that 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.
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.
The PML-N accuses 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 played the video of Judge Arshad Malik, Judge of accountability court who convicted Nawaz Sharif in Avenfiled reference. The leaked video, claimed Maryam, confirmed that judge Malik 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 bribes by the Sharif family but also threatened of dire consequences if he does not resign. Judge Arshad Malik explained his meetings with Sharif family and their representatives and disclosed that he was under pressure to take money and not convict the PML-N supremo.
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 caused irreplaceable loss to the judiciary and its public image.
The Supreme Court on Friday wrapped up a set of petitions on the video leak scandal. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), in the Supreme Court judgement, 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 bad name to the entire judiciary as an institution,” the judgement 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.”
Judge to be Removed from the Service?
The LHC is to announce its verdict today regarding the future of former accountability judge Arshad Malik. After looking at the observations made by the IHC and SC in recent days, it is clear that Arshad Malik is likely to be removed from his service from his parent department, LHC.