Shehbaz Sharif says the LHC’s decision proves Nawaz Sharif’s innocence
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Friday dismissed the controversial, judge Arshad Malik from his post, sources told Geo News.
According to the channel, the decision was taken by the administration committee of the LHC. The meeting was chaired by LHC CJ and attended by seven other senior judges.
The other judges that attended the meeting included Justices Ameer Bhatti, Malik Shahzad Khan, Ayesha Malik, Shahid Waheed and Ali Baqar Najafi.
Judge Malik's career went down the hill after PML-N in 2019 released a video clip purportedly showing the accountability court judge allegedly admitting to a lack of evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
PML-N Vice-President and Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz showed the alleged video and read out its transcript at a press conference lasting more than an hour.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and other senior party leaders had accompanied Maryam Nawaz at the press conference at the time.
The video purportedly shows the accountability court judge speaking to a PML-N worker named Nasir Butt and claiming that he was coerced to hand down the prison sentence against Nawaz Sharif despite there being no proof of corruption against the deposed premier.
In December 2018, the accountability court judge had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison in the same corruption case.
'Decision proves Nawaz's innocence’
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif hailed the Lahore High Court's decision to dismiss judge Arshad Malik, saying that it proved his brother, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was innocent.
Taking to Twitter, the former Punjab chief minister thanked God for the decision, adding that it had been proven that a three-time elected prime minister was handed an unjust verdict.
Shehbaz said that after the decision, Nawaz's conviction should also be repealed.
The Lahore High Court's administration committee's decision is actually evidence of Mohammad Nawaz Sharif's innocence, he said.
"I would appeal to party workers and the masses to offer prayers in gratitude," he wrote.
‘Drop scene of an era’
Commenting on the development, Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the judge’s dismissal is the drop scene of an era where certain judges were blackmailed through cronies.
Taking to Twitter, Faraz said, “PML- N & it’s leadership should apologise to the nation for patronising blackmailing & corruption, traits of mafioso mindset.”
Furthermore, Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar said that the other character of this video scandal, Maryam Safdar, should also be brought to book by trying to influence the appeal through video.
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.
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.