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January 17, 2020

Judge Arshad Malik’s video case: Nasir Butt reaches London ‘for few weeks’

National

January 17, 2020

LONDON: One of the people accused in Judge Arshad Malik’s video case, Nasir Butt, has reached London.

Islamabad-businessman Nasir Butt is now in London after the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) started a fresh probe into the video scandal following the resignation of Bashir Memon and appointment of Wajid Zia.

Nasir Butt has reached London accompanied by another family member, a trusted source said. Nasir Butt didn’t respond to questions by this correspondent.

A source close to Nasir Butt said that he decided to leave Pakistan after the acting judge of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) Court transferred the judge video scandal case to Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC). “Nasir Butt is innocent and has nothing to do with the video case of Judge Arshad Malik. He was arrested and hounded without a case against him. After the case was transferred to the ATC, it became apparent that he will be victimised more so he thought it best to leave Pakistan for now,” said the source, adding that he will be returning to Pakistan at an appropriate time. “He is out of Pakistan only for a few weeks and will be returning soon,” said the source.

The source said that The Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW) of FIA had filed an application seeking transfer of the case related to the confession video of ex-accountability court Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik to the ATC for political reasons and it’s clear that the case is being dragged out to prevent the course of justice.

The former accountability judge Arshad Malik had convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference. The PML-N leaders had released a video at a press conference in which judge Malik confessed to have convicted Mr Sharif under duress because of his alleged immoral video. Judge Arshad Malik said in the video, made by British Pakistani national Nasir Butt, that he was forced to convict Nawaz Sharif else warned of consequences.

Initially, the cybercrime circle of the FIA probed the case and arrested three suspects identified as Nasir Butt, Khurram Yousaf and Mahar Ghulam Jilani. The FIA absolved all of them after a preliminary investigation established that they had nothing to do with the secret video recording of Arshad Malik.

Judge Arshad Malik lodged a complaint and then the FIA transferred the investigation to the CTW which arrested two suspects including Hamza Butt, a nephew of Nasir Butt who had accompanied his uncle to meetings with Judge Arshad Malik.

In his affidavit, Judge Arshad Malik had denied the party’s claim saying he had been blackmailed by PML-N supporters through an “immoral video”. He also admitted to meeting with Mr Sharif at Jati Umra residence and Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia. In London, Nasir Butt instructed an English forensic firm which confirmed that the video contents of Judge Arshad Malik case were genuine and original. The forensic report has been verified and attested by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office as genuine but the High Commission of Pakistan has refused to attest the report, saying that the Foreign Office in Islamabad has asked the diplomats not to attest the video. Nasir Butt has alleged that the High Commission is under pressure not to attest the forensic report. He has said that he has several more videos.

After the video scandal broke out in Pakistan, Judge Arshad Malik accused Nasir Butt of offering him a bribe to acquit Nawaz Sharif, Mr Janjua has denied allegation against him and stated that Mr Malik was making up allegations to hide his own role. The FIA in its first inquiry report said that there was no evidence against Nasir Butt, Khurram Yousaf and Mahar Ghulam Jillani.