‘Nawaz unlikely to get relief’

Published: August 22, 2019
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The legal experts of Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) do not foresee any relief for former premier Nawaz Sharif keeping in view Judge Arshad Malik video scandal in near future.

In July, PML-N leadership had brought to the fore the judge’s video wherein he allegedly admitted manipulating the Al-Azizia reference.

There was a strong legal opinion that if the issue of the video is raised, the matter should be referred for fresh judgment to the trial court based on the same evidence.

Later, a three-judge apex court special bench led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa initiated public proceedings on three constitutional petitions seeking probe into the video scandal. The bench wrapped up the proceedings on the matter on Tuesday.

Neither the Sharif family became a party in the proceedings nor did the bench issue them notice asking for material based on which they believed Nawaz’s trial was manipulated.

On the other hand, the judges were astonished why the aggrieved party did not avail any legal benefit based on video at a proper forum. Even Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday noted that those who floated the story had now disassociated themselves from it.

Earlier, CJP also wondered that despite levelling serious allegations, no one approached the Islamabad High Court for relief after the release of judge’s video. The CJP said that no relief can be given unless the high court gives its ruling.

“Strangely, allegations were levelled but no one moved the high court, which is the real forum for the relief of convict who is in jail,” Justice Khosa remarked.

He further said that those [PML-N] interested in the release of Nawaz should approach the IHC.

Soon after the apex court’s proceedings, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) initiated an inquiry on the complaint of Judge Arshad Malik.

However, no cooperation was extended by PML-N leaders including Maryam Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif.  The FIA in the interim report noted that the judge was blackmailed by the Sharif family.

Now the debate continues why the PML-N leadership proffered to disassociate itself from the matter, though, once it demanded that Supreme Court take notice.

The legal experts of PML-N believe that the party can gain politically through the leaked video scandal but chances are rare Nawaz could get respite shortly.

They believe that PML-N should raise the issue after the retirement of superior court judges who were part of Panamagate larger bench.

Two of the judges are retiring this year.  Though next CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed was also part of the Panama bench PML-N’s legal wing is much hopeful.

A senior PML-N lawyer said that they are not optimistic to get relief in the prevailing situation as superior judiciary had already refused to extend bail to Nawaz on medical grounds.

Though IHC had itself fixed appeal against Al-Azizia reference on September 18, the applicant did not move any plea for early hearing of the matter after video scandal.

Another senior PML-N lawyer told The Express Tribune that trust deficit existed and there was not much hope to get relief from the superior judiciary in the next couple of months.  He said if the court was concerned, it would have summoned the aggrieved party and questioned them directly.

Another lawyer opined chances were the case would be sent to the trial court for fresh judgment on the same grounds. He believed that fresh ruling might be much harsher in the prevailing circumstances.

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