Thursday, 14 November, 2019

Pakistani judge who jailed former PM sacked over blackmail claims

Pakistan: High Court orders removal of judge who convicted Nawaz Sharif after video leak Pakistan sacks judge accused of 'blackmail' in ex-PM Sharif case
Deanna Wagner | 14 July, 2019, 05:14

She further alleged that judge Malik had exposed the premier through his alleged confession.

A Pakistani anti-corruption court judge on Friday was directed to "stop working" after a top court asked the law ministry to remove him from the post following the surfacing of a video, which purportedly showed the judge saying that he convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a graft case due to pressure from "hidden hands".

"The two persons, including Nasir Janjua and Mahar Jilani, have been meeting him since he was appointed Accountability Court-II Judge Islamabad and demanding him to give the decision in favour of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in HME and Flagship Investment references". Maryam claimed the judge had admitted before Butt that there was no proof of any wrongdoing against Sharif but he was forced to announce an unfair verdict.

On Malik's claims that he was threatened and offered bribes, the law minister said there would be legal action against anyone who tried to intimidate or blackmail judges. The Islamabad HC spokesperson said Malik's affidavit and letter have been made part of Sharif's acquittal plea. The accountability judge had also been summoned around three times for questioning.

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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". "The matter is about removing the verdict, which this judge had given under pressure, from the court record", she said.

Soon after the video surfaced, top PML-N leadership demanded release of Sharif from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, while the Imran Khan-led government distanced itself from the controversy, saying that the matter pertained to judiciary and it should deal with it.

He called the video "a lie [and] fake" and accused the Sharif family of threatening and offering him a bribe in exchange for acquitting the former prime minister. Apart from the money, the judge said that he was offered settlement overseas along with family if he resigned on the grounds that he could no longer deal with the guilt of convicting Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference without evidence.