ISLAMABAD: Senior accountability court judge Arshad Malik – the central character of the secretly shot video in which he appears to confess before a PML-N supporter Nasir Butt that he was threatened to convict former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference case – met Acting Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Amir Farooq on Thursday.
Justice Farooq had met with the Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa.
While no statement was issued to the media regarding the meeting, there is strong possibility that its agenda was to deliberate over the ‘leaked’ video shared by PML-N during a news conference last week.
Judge Malik had also met with Justice Farooq on Monday. However, the IHC did not pass any order in this matter.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court was also moved today to launch an inquiry into the video scandal that broke during a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) news conference on July 6.
A constitutional petition, submitted by Ishtiaq Ahmed Mirza through his lawyer Chaudhry Munir Sadiq at the top court, named the federal government, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Safdar, senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Nasir Butt and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) as respondents.
It requested the court to initiate a contempt of court proceedings against all the entities involved in the scandal.
“In a bid to maintain dignity of the judiciary, contempt of court proceedings should be initiated against the people who are behind the case. With this inquiry, all the questions targeting the credibility and freedom of judiciary will get answers,” it said.
The constitutional petition added, “It appears, with the leaked video, questions have been raised against the freedom of the judiciary. The video suggests that the judiciary does not work the way it should be and gets blackmailed.”
It said that details of the July 6 press conference by Shehbaz and Maryam should be sought from Pemra and a probe should be held to clarify all the accusations levelled against the judiciary.
“Although judge Malik has denied being blackmailed into convicting Nawaz for graft last year, the mentioning of a bribe offer in his press release is of serious importance.”
The constitutional petition said, “Maryam’s allegations against the judiciary fall into the category of contempt of court.”
It pleaded the top court to order the PTI-led government to do measures for the sovereignty of the judiciary.
Maryam and Shehbaz presented the leaked video at a specially called news conference, claiming it proved that Nawaz, currently serving a seven-year sentence for corruption, was wrongfully convicted and should be released.
In the video, judge Malik appeared to be informing a man, described by PML-N officials as a party sympathiser, that unidentified individuals had confronted him with compromising video footage to pressure him into convicting.
In a press release, issued a day later through the accountability court, judge Malik said his comments in the video were pieced together, presented out of context and he had never faced intimidation to rule against Sharif.
Maryam on July 10 again shared two more video clips on social media to support claiming the judge allegedly met a party supporter and confessed his wrongdoing.