The Islamabad High Court on Friday ordered the removal of accountability judge Arshad Malik from his post after videos purportedly showed him admitting to have been blackmailed into convicting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case, Dawn reported. Malik’s removal order came after his letter to the court’s acting chief justice, in which he claimed that the videos were fake.
Malik also filed an affidavit on Friday before the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court. In the letter, the judge of the accountability court II said that he had never been coerced into announcing verdicts. He further said that the clips had been edited and not reflective of his actual statements, Samaa TV reported.
Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq passed the order without an investigation as he was an officer of the subordinate judiciary of the Lahore High Court. Farooq also instructed the registrar office to write to the law ministry regarding Malik’s removal and repatriating him to the parent department, the Lahore High Court, according to Dawn.
After the court order, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz called for the Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference against her father Nawaz Sharif to be declared void. Legal experts said that a retrial in the corruption case was possible.
Malik’s letter and affidavit have now been included in Sharif’s acquittal plea, GeoTV quoted a spokesperson of the Islamabad High Court as saying. The accountability judge had also been summoned around three times for questioning.
On July 6, Maryam Nawaz released the video at a press conference in Lahore, and claimed that the judge was heard saying in the video that Sharif was convicted even though “there is no allegation of financial corruption” in the case. She alleged that the judge had contacted Butt and told him that he was feeling guilty and “having nightmares” after announcing the “unjust verdict” against Sharif. She claimed the judge invited Nasir Butt, who she described as a loyal fan of her father to his residence, where the video was recorded. The controversy continued as Maryam Nawaz released two more video clips “in support” of the first one.
In December 2018, Malik had sentenced Sharif to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case. The court had, however, cleared him in the Flagship Investment case.