Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday has chose to remove Arshad Malik as accountability court judge after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz unveiled his alleged video during a press conference.
The Supreme Court on Friday fixed a petition seeking a probe into the video leak controversy involving accountability judge Arshad Malik for hearing on July 16.
The judge claimed in the affidavit that he was offered bribes and threatened with dire consequences by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) representatives initially to force him into issuing verdicts in favour of Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investments references, and later to coerce him into resigning from his office. He contended that the video recording, allegedly a conversation between Arshad Malik and Nasir Butt, has created an impression that the judiciary in this country is not working independently rather it is blackmailed and forced to act on the instructions of blackmailing person.
As per Section 5A of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), the Law Ministry, with the consent of the chief justice of a high court, appoints judges for special courts, including accountability courts.
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Malik later issued a statement denying he had been blackmailed to convict Sharif and saying the video had been manipulated.
Taking to Twitter, Pakistani journalist and Hum News anchor Nadeem Malik said, "Just came to know Maryam Nawaz Sharif's interview has been stopped forcefully just [a] few minutes after it started live". How could one acquit someone in one case and convict in another if there was any pressure with respect to cases, he reasoned.
He said that he was not pressurized by anyone to deliver verdict against Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference and that the decision was announced while fulfilling all the requirements of justice.
The minister also revealed that if the accusations hurled by the judge were proven to be true after investigation then those being named might have to face a jail sentence up to 10 years for trying to influence a high-level case under Article 31 (a) of NAB ordinance. But, he added, nobody would be allowed to tamper the verdicts.
Mirza states in the petition that the leaked video, as it appears, raises questions over the judiciary's independence. She said that corruption allegations were made on Nawaz Sharif but no proves were shown, adding that everyone knows this is not accountability but victimization.