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July 7, 2019

AC judge’s alleged video opens new Pandora’s box

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July 7, 2019

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Vice President, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, played an explosive video before the media on Saturday, purportedly showing an accountability court judge, Arshad Malik, telling a man that he was blackmailed and coerced into convicting Nawaz Sharif despite no evidence against him.

She played the video at a press conference at the party secretariat in Model Town, along with PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khwaja Asif and others, in which the judge was shown telling a man namely Nasir Butt that “they have in possession secret material against everybody. “They called me and showed me a video. After watching it, I had no choice but to act upon what they said.” In the video, the judge did not name those who showed him the compromising video, which was used to pressurise him. But Maryam Nawaz said the judge was blackmailed and forced to convict Nawaz Sharif by the powers-that-be.

She said the judge was repenting his conduct and was under extreme pressure of his conscience, which compelled him to call Nasir Butt, a PML-N activist and an old acquaintance of the judge, at his home, saying he wanted to share something important with him. She said the judge also told Nasir Butt that he (judge) was having nightmares as he had committed injustice to someone innocent. She said the judge sent his car for Nasir Butt to bring him to his house and told him "there is no proof against Nawaz Sharif in the money-laundering and the assets beyond means cases, and those about kickbacks or Hussain Nawaz’s alleged money transfer from Saudi Arabia." Maryam said, “In the video, the judge is seen telling Nasir that he was invited for tea to a place and when he reached there, the people who had invited him, left the room after playing a video, in which he was shown his ‘personal’ video." Later, she said, "the people who had invited him (judge) returned to the room and told him that there was “no problem with it, as such things happen” and they would take care of it." Maryam said "the judge told Nasir Butt that decisions was already taken somewhere else. Nobody can bear with the pressure they apply.” She said "Nasir asked the judge how did they got the video. The judge replied that he had no other option but to commit suicide after watching the video." She said: “the judge, who sentenced Nawaz to seven years in jail, admitted that he (Nawaz) was convicted wrongly. He didn’t give the verdict rather it was handed down to him,” she claimed. Maryam said "the video she had played was unedited," showing the conversation between Nasir Butt and the judge.

She lamented that a 70 years old man, who remained prime minister thrice and served the country, was suffering in the jail despite life threatening ailments. She asked media persons to decide for themselves whether Nawaz Sharif is being victimised. She said after surfacing of the ‘undeniable proof’, there is no justification of Nawaz Sharif’s imprisonment and he must be released immediately.

Maryam urged the superior judiciary and the state institutions to take notice of the conspiracy, and warned that she possessed more explosive evidence which has the names of those pulling the strings of the officials being used against the PML-N. She added she is not at war with any institution. She said: “We gave receipts and evidence, but those were not accepted by the courts.” Everyone knows this is a conspiracy and not accountability, she said, adding “Nawaz still appears in courts, and for the first time a prime minister’s daughter was also brought into the case. The verdict was decided even before the cases were filed.”

She said, “In the video, the judge can be heard telling Nasir that to make something work, it is necessary to tighten its screws. You can make any instrument sound as you will.” Maryam quoted the judge as having said. “In one case made on the basis of the Supreme Court’s decision, the court acquitted the accused. In the second case, he was convicted on the same allegations, and awarded seven years imprisonment; in the third case in the court, he was awarded a 10-year sentence.” She recalled that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s sentence was termed a “judicial murder” and later a judge confessed giving judgment under duress. She exclaimed thank God! the judge hearing Nawaz’s case realised his mistake sooner.

She said she did not care about the consequences, adding she is determined to do anything for Nawaz. “I am fighting for the rights of all the prime ministers who were made the target of any sort of conspiracy,” she said, adding let the law decide if anyone committed corrupt practices. Judges can’t be manipulated or blackmailed and forced to commit suicide, but “this is what happens behind the closed doors,” she added.

Maryam said during her last press conference, she had promised that Nawaz Sharif won’t be allowed to become another (Mohamed) Morsi. She said she had promised that she would go to the last extent to save Nawaz Sharif (her father), and that video was that extent. “After today, I know that my life is also in danger, since no one has ever said truth in the country before.” PM Imran Khan says people should not call him selected, said Maryam. “You are selected, so why shouldn’t we call you that?” she asked. She said “the world has seen who plays in connivance with the umpire. Not only have they (PTI) been playing on an uneven playing field but they have targeted their political rivals too,” she added.

Earlier, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif started the press conference and explained the purpose of inviting the media was to present some solid and irrefutable proofs in favour of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. He regretted "the man who remained prime minister of Pakistan thrice, who served the nation relentlessly, who made Pakistan a nuclear state and who gave the country various gigantic development projects, was suffering in the jail today." He called upon the higher judiciary and the powers-that-be to do justice with Nawaz Sharif.

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