IHC removes NAB judge Arshad Malik

Pakistan: High Court orders removal of judge who convicted Nawaz Sharif after video leak

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.

The court's spokesman said that acting chief justice of IHC Justice Amir Farooq has written a letter to law ministry, seeking to withdraw services of Arshad Malik.

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.

The law minister said judge Malik had claimed that he was blackmailed and threatened to play a partisan role in the corruption case against Nawaz Sharif. The accountability judge had also been summoned around three times for questioning. The claim was allegedly part of the judge's conversation with a PML-N sympathiser, Nasir Butt, who the government suspected had a criminal history.

Arshad Malik is now hearing the fake accounts case against former president Asif Ali Zardari, rental power case against former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and references against former prime minister Shaukat Aziz.

However, he said in spite of all those attempts, he was determined to decide the reference purely on merit and subsequently convicted Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference but acquitted him in Flagship Investment reference (on Dec 24, 2018). However, in a press statement the following day, the judge refuted the accusation and dubbed the video as a "conspiracy hatched to affect his credibility".

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According to a senior counsel Hasan Mann, the SC has taken up the petition expeditiously because the matter pertains to the institution that the chief justice heads.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The news channels were put off air reportedly on the orders of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

Maryam also requested the judiciary to declare the verdict void and to issue directives for her father's release "without any delays".

The petitioner submitted that the allegations levelled in the press conference are very serious in nature and if not probed in time and brought to their legal and logical end, they may shake the confidence of the masses in the judiciary of Pakistan. Therefore, he requested the court to summon the record, video footage of the press conference, from Pemra.

In a short verdict announced, the court said there was concrete evidence against the former premier in the Al-Azizia reference and that he was unable to provide a money trail in the case.

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