The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday announced it was removing Accountability Judge Arshad Malik from office after controversy erupted over a video suggesting he had been coerced into ruling against Nawaz Sharif.
Last year, Malik had sentenced Sharif to seven years imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference while acquitting him in a second reference related to Flagship Investments. On Saturday, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) vice-president Maryam Nawaz addressed a press conference in which she alleged that Malik had ‘confessed’ to convicting Sharif under threats of blackmail. She also showed journalists the alleged confession video, which Malik subsequently slammed as ‘fake.’
On Thursday, Malik submitted a letter and filed an affidavit before IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq in which he claimed the videos shared by Maryam were fake. He also claimed he had been offered a bribe to acquit Sharif, which he refused, following which he was threatened with physical harm if he did not cooperate.
Despite the contents of the letter, Justice Farooq decided to relieve Malik of his post without any inquiry and has directed the Registrar’s Office to apprise the law ministry for Malik’s formal ouster and repatriation to the Lahore High Court.
Malik’s ouster has now raised questions over the validity of his judgments in the Al-Azizia and Flagship references. Maryam Nawaz has already called for the controversial judgments to be declared void and re-tried. Legal experts also believe a strong case can now be made to re-open and re-try the corruption references under less-controversial judge.