Judge video scandal: IHC approves ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s plea for hearing

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday has approved miscellaneous plea of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif regarding his sentence in Al-Azizia reference following ex-accountability court judge Arshad Malik’s video scandal

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According to details, the court has issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other parties directing to submit a reply in 14 days.

On Monday, the former PM had moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking suspension of his sentence in Al-Azizia reference. NAB chairman and Kot Lakhpat Jail superintendent were made parties in the plea.

The former premier, in the appeal filed through his counsel, adopted the stance that the statements of witnesses be recorded as a fair trial in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference was his basic right.

The petition stated five people should be made approvers Nasir Butt as well as British experts who prepared the forensic report of the video and audio. Nawaz said the statements of the witnesses were also needed for the court to give a free and fair verdict regarding the main appeal in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

The court also issued a notice to NAB in this regard.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader was sentenced to seven years in prison and was fined Rs1.5 billion and $25 million in the Al-Azizia corruption reference by an accountability court on December 24, 2018.

However, he was acquitted in another reference related to Flagship Investments.

Judge Arshad Malik, who had announced the verdict of Al-Azizia reference and convicted Nawaz Sharif in December 2018, was seen in the video confessing before PML-N worker Butt that he was forced to sentence ex-PM.

In an affidavit submitted to the IHC, Malik denied the contents of the video — which allegedly showed him admitting to a lack of evidence against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — and termed them edited, fabricated, and aimed to defame him.

The court had issued notices to PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Raja Zafarul Haq, and others.

On a petition submitted by a citizen named Ishtiaq Ahmed, the top court took up the case. Ahmed appealed to the apex court for an independent judicial inquiry of the video scandal.

On July 12, judge Arshad Malik was relieved from his post by the federal government for his alleged involvement in the controversial video scandal.

Malik, in a letter written for IHC, claimed that Hussain Nawaz offered him a bribe, adding, “Nasir Janjua came to meet me and claimed that he had the cash equivalent of Rs 100 million in Euros for me immediately available out of which the Euro equivalent of Rs 20 million was laying in his car parked outside.”

He added, “I was told that Mian Sahib is willing to pay whatever I demand on acquitting him in both references. However, I declined the bribe offered to me while committing remains sticking to merits.”

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