LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has called for annulling the verdict against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference, saying there is no legal justification for keeping Nawaz imprisoned after removal of Accountability Court Number II Judge Arshad Malik who had handed down the sentence.
Reacting to the de-notification of Judge Malik, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz tweeted, “The issue is not to suspend any judge rather the matter is to suspend the decision that this judge has given, under pressure.”
She said the decision of removing the judge clearly indicated that the higher court had accepted the facts, and if so then how could the decision of this judge given under pressure be valid.
“If the judge who announced Nawaz’s verdict is being punished, why is innocent Nawaz not being freed who was prosecuted by this judge?” she asked.
She said how Nawaz could be prosecuted if the judge who handed down his sentence was found guilty of misconduct and removed from his post.
“Nawaz, who remained the first three-time prime minister of Pakistan, despite being proven innocent is behind bars. How is this justice? Is only removing the said judge enough? Absolutely not,” she said.
She requested the honorable judiciary to annul the decision and dispense justice to Nawaz. “He should be freed forthwith,” she added.
On Judge Malik’s affidavit statement, Maryam tweeted that if there was any ounce of truth in the affidavit of Judge Malik, he, during the trial, would have confronted Nawaz and should have asked him about the bribe offer. He should have informed the higher courts and gotten Nawaz arrested for pressuring him during trial in the court, she added.
Sarcastically, Maryam said the judge happily continued meeting people, sent his official vehicle to bring people home, and kept meeting them at their residences and office asking them to pressure him and blackmail him.
In her tweet she wrote “Free Nawaz Sharif, the true people’s representative, the three times elected prime minister who has been conspired against and wronged, not once but over & over again. Time to rectify the wrong & redeem justice”.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said Nawaz’s conviction stands annulled after removal of judge Malik; therefore, the PML-N supremo should be released from prison.
In a statement, the National Assembly opposition leader said, “There is no legal justification in keeping Nawaz behind bars anymore because Malik’s dismissal has attested and endorsed all events and realities evident in the video released by the PML-N.”
He demanded that all verdicts given against the three-time prime minister under pressure must be declared null and void.
Shehbaz stressed the need that Nawaz must be released from prison immediately to salvage some sanctity and honour of the judiciary and the judicial process after the disturbing revelations made by the video.
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said, “There is no legal justification in keeping Nawaz imprisoned after removal of judge Malik from his office.”
Marriyum said, “Annulling the verdict against Nawaz must be a direct consequence of the judge’s expulsion.”
This, she said, confirmed the fact that the video and its contents were authentic.
The former information minister said this recent development meant that the entire process of convicting Nawaz was compromised. “Everything PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said in the press conference turned out to be true.”