ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on three identical petitions on the video scandal involving accountability court judge Arshad Malik, all seeking a directive from the apex court for the formation of an inquiry committee or a judicial commission.
Chief Justice (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa headed the three-member bench which heard the case in presence of Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon.
On July 23, the top court had ordered the FIA to complete its probe within three weeks.
During the proceedings today, Chief Justice Khosa said that three weeks had been given to FIA to complete investigations. Discussing the interim report submitted by the FIA director general earlier today, the chief justice said that it was regarding two videos — one through which the judge was blackmailed and the other which was aired at the PML-N conference.
Judge Malik had been posted to the accountability court on March 13, 2018, said attorney general. CJP Khosa asked if the individual who had appointed judge Malik had come forward, to which the attorney general responded that he had not. As per the interim report, Nasir Janjua, a suspect in the video leak case, had said he appointed the judge, added CJP Khosa.
CJP remarked, “this means that after the Panama Papers verdict, the government at the time had appointed judge Arshad Malik.”
According to the attorney general, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders have disassociated themselves from the video. He added that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz had also tried to disassociate herself from the video and said that she had not seen the “objectionable video”.
CJP Khosa said, “according to the report, Mian Tariq Mahmood, [a man allegedly involved in the video scandal] can be seen in the video,” to which the attorney general responded in the affirmative.
The top judge asked if a forensic audit of the video had been conducted. The attorney general said that it had been but an audit for a new video had not been conducted.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked a forensic audit of the judge’s video could not be conducted, adding, “all of Pakistan has the judge’s video, only FIA doesn’t.”
The attorney general said that the reason it couldn’t be conducted was because the video was taken from YouTube.
“What evidence is there that the first video is real?” Justice Saeed inquired.
Earlier 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 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (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.”