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July 4, 2020

LHC dismisses judge Arshad Malik from service

Top Story

 
July 4, 2020

Ag APP

LAHORE: Arshad Malik, the judge who convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia corruption reference, has been dismissed from service by the Lahore High Court (LHC) over misconduct.

The seven-member administrative committee, headed by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, made the decision to terminate Malik, who was a District and Sessions judge, in a meeting. Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Ali Baqar Najafi were the other members of the committee.

The committee took the decision in the light of an inquiry report, which declared the judge guilty. Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem of the LHC had been tasked with the inquiry by the committee on August 26, 2019.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had accused Malik of convicting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference under duress. The same judge had acquitted the former prime minister in the Flagship Investments reference.

After PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had released alleged video and audio clips of Malik at a press conference in July last year, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had summoned him and directed him to submit an affidavit explaining his position.

In his affidavit, the judge had denied the party’s claim, saying he had been blackmailed by the PML-N supporters through an “immoral video”. He also admitted to meeting Nawaz Sharif at his Jati Umra residence and Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, the IHC, on August 22, 2019, suspended and repatriated the judge to the LHC, his parent department, for further disciplinary proceedings. The LHC on September 14 made the judge an officer on special duty (OSD) from the date of his suspension and posted him to the sessions court.

Malik had joined the district judiciary on August 1, 2000 and was promoted to the post of sessions judge on September 8, 2010. He was due to retire on May 24, 2022.

PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif said the dismissal proved that Malik’s judgment against his brother was not based on justice and proved Nawaz Sharif’s innocence. He also demanded the decision against Nawaz Sharif be overturned in light of the judge’s dismissal.

Nawaz’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, termed Malik’s termination a “victory of truth and the defeat of falsehood”. In a series of tweets, she said now the dignity and justice of the judiciary demands that the tainted decisions of a tainted judge be torn down. “Nawaz Sharif’s patience won. Nawaz Sharif’s perseverance prevailed over oppression,” she added.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said Malik’s dismissal was the drop scene of an era where certain judges were blackmailed through cronies. In a tweet, he said the PML-N and its leadership “should apologise to the nation for patronising, blackmailing and corruption — the traits of a mafia mindset”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide on political communication, Shahbaz Gill, said now it was the turn of Malik’s “blackmailers” to be punished.