Arshad Malik found guilty of misconduct, given maximum penalty, rules LHC

The Lahore High Court (LHC) found suspended accountability court judge Arshad Malik guilty of misconduct on Thursday and awarded him the maximum punishment/penalty – dismissal from service.

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The LHC also issued a notification of removing the judge by issuing its July 3, 2020 decision in writing to remove the accused person from service.

“The inquiry officer found that the aforesaid charge [misconduct] stood proved against the accused officer [Arshad Malik] and recommended imposition of major penalty of dismissal from service upon him, now therefore the chief justice and judges as authority after considering the reply to final show cause notice affording him an opportunity of being heard in person and having found the accused officer being guilty of the aforesaid charge while declining his representations dated June 2, 2020 and July 3, 2020 as we will as request for retirement, hereby impose major penalty of dismissal from service upon Mr. Arshad Malik, district and session judge/OSD, Sessions Court, Lahore forthwith,” read the notification issued by Registrar LHC Sardar Bahadar Ali Khan.

On July 3, an administrative committee of LHC had decided to dismiss Arshad Malik from his position following his involvement in the infamous video scandal case. The LHC committee was headed by LHC Chief Justice Qasim Ali Khan.

Under Punjab Efficiency and Discipline Rules, Arshad Malik could file a departmental appeal against this order within 30 days, officials said. The administrative committee of the LHC would hear this appeal within 90 days. The next forum for Malik, if his appeal is dismissed by the LHC chief justice, would be Punjab Subordinate Judiciary Service Tribunals which generally consists of three judges of the LHC, added officials.

“The accused-officer led no evidence in rebuttal that whatever done by him was a result of intimidation or duress,” read a 13-page inquiry report, also available with Geo News. “The judicial officer took inconsistent pleas as, in his press statement, he claimed to have been blackmailed. But, on the other hand, he claimed that the decision of the references was free from any influence, coercion or threats. The accused has not established through some evidence that he was so terrorised that he acted entirely against his will. It means he admits that he has committed the crime, but prays to be excused from the punishment for the consequences of crime by the reason of duress,” read the report.

Earlier, he appeared before the administrative committee on July 3, 2020 requesting that he may be asked to go for early retirement. The administrative committee in the light of the inquiry committee’s report prepared by Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem recommended maximum punishment for him.

After multiple hearings, Malik failed to justify his position and asked to be pardoned by the seven-member administrative committee, which categorically rejected his plea, added informed officials.

“[His] entire record was examined. Malik testified twice before the inquiry committee where he submitted his detailed response. [The] report was submitted before the administrative committee in June 2020,” a senior official told Geo News.

The administrative committee headed by the then LHC Chief Justice Sardar Shamim Khan on Aug 26, 2019, took up Malik’s issue who was suspended after the video leak controversy.

The suspension came after Malik officially admitted that he met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and his son Hussain Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia in the first week of June this year.

“I met Hussain Nawaz Sharif at Oberoi Hotel, Madina Munawwara,” confirmed Malik in his written response submitted with the investigation team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

When FIA asked Malik as to how many times he visited Nawaz’s residence at Jati Umra Lahore, he responded, “Once, according to my recollection, the departure for Jati-Umra was around 10:00 hours and the departure from Jati-Umra was 18:00 hours on the same day.”

When asked who accompanied you while going to Lahore, the said judge responded, “Nasir Mehmood Butt.”

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