MULTAN: Mian Tariq, one of the central characters in the video scandal involving former accountability court judge Arshad Malik, has made stunning disclosures during interrogation about his blackmailing network, particularly about how he was operating with the resident editor of a newspaper to extort money from members of judiciary as well as government officials.
Tariq was arrested on Wednesday by the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing on an FIR filed on Malik’s complaint and remanded in custody by a court.
He told interrogators that he had a collection of personal and unethical videos of judges and government officials. The people affiliated with the resident editor would make phone calls to the judges and government officials the group intended to blackmail using the videos. They would threaten to publish the material against them in the newspaper if they did not meet their demands. Through these tactics, Tariq and other members of the group would receive illegal favours and millions of rupees from the judges and government officials.
Tariq had blackmailed Judge Malik on more than one occasion using the latter’s unethical videos and extorted large sums of money from him.
He told interrogators that he and the resident editor had forced Malik to sign agreements with them on stamp papers for the payment of money.
The investigation so far has revealed that Mian Tariq sold Judge Malik’s video for Rs110 million and a V8 jeep. However, Tariq’s son Faisal has told interrogators that the video was sold for Rs70 million and a jeep.
According to sources, the FIA has seized a USB from Faisal that contains the videos of Malik and others being blackmailed by the group. Besides, it has also seized a V8 jeep that was handed over to Tariq as part of video scandal deal.
The sources said Tariq and the resident editor had called Judge Malik to the office of the newspaper and threatened to make his videos public if he did not pay them. The judge then went on to submit his affidavit to the law ministry because he could no longer put up with the blackmailing.
The FIA raided the residence of Nasir Butt, another central character in the video scandal, in Rawalpindi Dhok Ratta – locally known as Haji House — and seized two “important” documents.
Butt, as claimed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) itself, is a “loyal supporter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif”.
Butt left for London prior to the PML-N revealing the video in which Judge Malik is seen telling him that he was coerced into ruling against Nawaz.
His younger brother, Hafiz Abdullah Butt, was also not present at the residence at the time of the raid.
Sources in the FIA Cyber Crime Wing told The Express Tribune that the raid was conducted in the wee hours of Thursday.
The FIA has been unable to contact Butt on his phone numbers in Pakistan and the UK. The sources said his residence will remain under monitoring.
Butt was also booked along with Tariq on Malik’s complaint.