ISLAMABAD: Judge Arshad Malik in an affidavit submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday claimed he was offered Rs500 million by the son of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resign on the pretext that he could "no longer deal with the guilt of having convicted the former premier under duress and without evidence".
The offer was made after the December 24 Al-Azizia verdict, the judge maintained in the affidavit he submitted to the court in connection with a controversial video that purportedly shows him confessing to being blackmailed into ruling against Nawaz.
The judge further claimed that Hussain had also offered to relocate him along with his family to the UK, Canada or any other country of his choice if he accepted the offer.
Elaborating further, the judge stated that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activist Nasir Butt approached him on June 1 this year in Saudi Arabia where he was performing Umrah with his family and asked him to meet Hussain.
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"I declined the offer by Hussain Nawaz Sharif. I returned to Pakistan on June 8, 2019, after which Nasir Butt made repeated telephone calls to me urging me to reconsider the offer made by Hussain Nawaz whilst threatening me with consequences."
The judge maintained another man named Khurram Hussain also contacted him, urging him to accept the offer.
"When they were sure that I would not accept their illegal demands, they held a press conference on July 6 bombarding me with allegations and presenting forged video statements," he stated.
"I responded and referred to the fake videos the very next day through a press release on July 7. I am once again stating that I have given the verdicts for Al-Azizia and Flagship references on the basis of the available evidence and on merit without any pressure, coercion or partiality."
Malik further maintained that two people, Mehr Jilani and Nasir Janjua, during the trial of the two cases, told him that Nawaz was ready to pay anything in return for verdicts in his favour.
"I told them that I had spent 56 years of my life residing in a 6-Marla home and I would give the verdict as per the oath and stature of my office."
The judge said Nasir Janjua had claimed that he had about Rs100 million in euros as advance payment of which Rs20 million was in the car he had arrived in.
In his affidavit, Malik even raised questions about his own appointment as an accountability court judge.
"I was contacted by Mehr Jilani and Nasir Janjua after being appointed as a judge for accountability court-2 in Islamabad in February 2018. The two held a meeting with me in which Janjua claimed that I was appointed as the judge for accountability court-II on the personal recommendation of a high-profile government figure with close relations with the PML-N," the judge stated.
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"I did not think much about the claim at that time and told Janjua that he should have told me about this recommendation beforehand," he added, claiming that he wanted to be appointed to the post of a district and sessions judge.
The two references were shifted to the accountability court-II in Islamabad during August 2018 when their trials were still under way.
Detailing the events further in the affidavit, the judge also said that a compromising video of his was revealed by the PML-N earlier in 2019. "I held a meeting with Khurram Butt and Nasir Butt in February 2019, where the latter asked me if Nasir Janjua had showed me the Multan video. I told him that I did not know what he was referring to. He said I would be shown the video in a few days," he stated.
"Mian Tariq, an old social acquaintance from the time I was serving in Multan as additional district and sessions judge from 2000-2003, showed me a secretly recorded and manipulated immoral video in a compromising position saying that is it you doing this when you were serving in Multan," the judge wrote.
The judge further claimed that he was blackmailed after being shown the video" and told to record an audio message that he delivered the verdicts to appease the "ruling elite" under an immense pressure and that substantial evidence was not available against the former prime minister.
The affidavit also revealed details of a meeting between the accountability judge and Nawaz in Jati Umra during the latter's six-week-long bail for treatment.
The judge, elaborating the April 6 meeting in the affidavit, further wrote that he had accompanied Nasir Butt to Jati Umra where Nawaz "personally received" them.
"At this meeting, Nasit Butt initiated the conversation by claiming in front of Mian Nawaz Sharif that I had admitted to Nasir Butt that the conviction was handed down under pressure of the judiciary and the army. However, when I spoke up, I politely tried to explain to Mian Nawaz Sharif that the conviction in the HME Reference was on merit and that there was substantial evidence adduced against him by the prosecution which had gone unrebutted in defence, whereas, in the Flagship reference he was acquitted because of the absence of the required level of evidence," the judge alleged in the affidavit.
Content of the affadavit