Turning down the allegations of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Safdar that Accountability Court (AC) Islamabad judge Arshad Malik had convicted her father in Al-Azizia reference under coercion the judge said on Sunday he awarded sentence to Sharif without fear and favor in the matter.
On Saturday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam opened a Pandora’s box with a startling claim that the judge of an accountability court confessed he had been “pressurised and blackmailed” to convict her father in the case.
A video containing the judge’s alleged confession during his conversation with a ‘sympathiser’ of the PML-N, Nasir Butt, was screened during a hurriedly called presser at the party’s provincial headquarters in Model Town Lahore.
The judge, in a press release issued on Sunday, said that he had watched the press conference as well as the video attributed to him. “Serious allegations were made against me; it was a conspiracy to affect my credibility as well as that of my institution and my family. Therefore, I want to present the facts.
“I am a resident of Rawalpindi and have been appeared before courts as a lawyer before joining the judiciary. The individual shown in the video, Nasir Butt, is also from the same city and is an old acquaintance. Nasir Butt and his brother Abdullah Butt have met me many times at numerous instances”, the judge said.
Arshad Malik expressed, “The video shown in Maryam Safdar sahiba’s press conference is not only contrary to the facts but it is also a despicable attempt to mesh together various instances and topics spoken about, and to present them out of context”.
“After Maryam Safdar sahiba’s press conference, it is necessary that the truth be brought forward […] during the hearing of the cases against Nawaz Sharif and his family, I was repeatedly offered bribes by their representatives and also given threats of serious consequences if I did not cooperate,” alleged the judge in the press release.
“I decided to stay committed to the truth and left my life and wealth in the hands of God – Had I announced the verdict under pressure or over greed of bribes, I would not have acquitted him [Nawaz Sharif] in one case and convicted him in the other,” said the judge.
Judge Arshad Malik, on Dec 4, 2018, had handed the ousted prime minister seven years sentence in Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, but on the same day acquitted him in a second reference related to Flagship Investments, saying “there was no case against Nawaz”.
“While dispensing justice, I announced conviction of Nawaz Sharif on the basis of evidence in the Al-Azizia case whereas acquitted him in the Flagship case – I also intended to make it clear that indirectly or directly, neither was there any pressure on me nor was there any greed. I made these decisions knowing God is omnipresent and on the basis of the law and the facts. This press conference was held merely to make my decisions controversial/disputable and to gain political advantages”, said Arshad Malik.
“The videos shown during the press conference are fake and based on lies and assumptions. Therefore, legal action should be taken against those individuals involved in this”, the judge concluded.
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