PMLN vice-president says Saqib Nisar should reveal who ‘pressured’ him to ensure she and her father, Nawaz Sharif, were convicted ahead of 2018 polls
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday asked former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar to clarify who had “pressured” him to ensure she and her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, were convicted in the Avenfield apartments reference.
“Whether today, or tomorrow, you will have to tell the nation the truth. There is still time. Come forth, tell the nation who pressured you to sentence Nawaz Sharif if it was unwarranted? Who pressured you to sentence Maryam Nawaz, if it was without merit? And who told you that Imran Khan needs to be brought to power?” she said during a press conference on the audio clip that allegedly features Nisar telling an unidentified individual that the PMLN leaders must be convicted, as “friends” wanted to ensure that incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power.
“Who was it that you could not refuse, despite being the chief justice of Pakistan at the time?” she said, adding that he should clarify why he felt “forced” to take unconstitutional steps. “You will have to answer all this,” she said.
Referring to a recent report by Samaa News that claimed parts of the audio clip had been recorded from a speech of the former CJP, she said she was thankful they had “proven” it was his voice since he had already claimed that he was not involved with it. Since the channel broadcast its report, “he, too, stepped forth to agree,” she said.
Regretting that the clip had become controversial, she noted that it had been forensically analyzed by a reputable U.S. firm that had confirmed it had not been edited in any way. She said the clips shown by Samaa contained sentences that might be Nisar’s “catch phrases,” adding that the prime minister had a similar habit of repeating phrases in all his speeches. However, she noted, the report had not managed to find any example of where the key portions referring to herself and her father might have been spliced from.
Maryam said the Nisar clip was merely the latest proof of the injustice suffered by her and her father, noting that former justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had also claimed that he was directed to not grant bail to them. Admitting that there could be questions about audio or video evidence, she stressed that Siddiqui was still alive and should be summoned to court to justify his allegations.
She also referred to the sworn affidavit of former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Mohammad Shamim, which alleged that he had overheard Nisar instructing subordinate judges to ensure the Sharif duo remained in prison, as even more proof. “He said he is ready to appear at any forum and testify to the veracity of the statement he gave,” she added.
Overall, she said, five testimonies have emerged in favor of the PMLN’s narrative—Justice Siddiqui; late justice Arshad Malik; former FIA chief Bashir Memon; and Rana Shamim. “Will the nation be able to forget so soon the incidents that have unfolded over the last five years?” she said, adding that no one could deny so much proof. “Can anyone deny that the prime minister, who was elected by the people, Nawaz Sharif, was removed from his post under a conspiracy? Is a forensic analysis needed for this?” she said, adding that over 450 people had been named in the Panama Papers scandal and yet the person convicted over them was Nawaz Sharif, whose name was not even mentioned in them.
She asked whether a forensic audit was required for her being disqualified from holding public office for seven years “without any proof,” noting the Islamabad High Court had asked the same of NAB.
“When you commit a sin, when you operate under a conspiracy, you are drunk with power and you are unaware of the evidence you leave behind. That proof had to come to the fore,” she said, adding that neither she nor Nawaz or any other member of the PMLN had played any role in these leaks.
To a question, the PMLN leader said it was “amusing” that Nisar was avoiding the media glare even as the incumbent government kept trying to defend him. The prime minister, she claimed, had “called no meeting on inflation even as prices continued to fluctuate in the morning, afternoon and evening” but had immediately called a meeting to address the leaked audio clip.
“The conspiracy in which Saqib Nisar became a pawn had one beneficiary: Imran Khan,” she alleged, adding that the PTI had only come into power thanks to that conspiracy. “It is not Saqib Nisar that the ministers are saving, it is themselves,” she claimed. “They know that when Saqib Nisar will be exposed, they will be exposed,” she added.
Challenging Nisar to prove as false the allegations against him in court, she said that any compensation he won if he were proven right could be used to “further his cause for dams in Pakistan.” She also urged the judiciary to “disassociate” itself from the incident, stressing that she had “great respect” for the institution.