–Nasim says Sharifs need to provide money trail to prove their innocence as judge’s revelations do not eliminate London flats
–Says govt stands by judges, won’t let Opp manipulate it
–PM’s aide demands probe into judge’s appointment in the light of revelations made by Arshad Malik in affidavit
ISLAMABAD: Law Minister Dr Farogh Nasim on Friday said the removal of Accountability Judge Arshad Malik who had sentenced Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case will have no impact until the Islamabad High Court takes a decision on whether the verdict was given under “pressure”.
Addressing a press conference following the judge’s removal, the minister the verdict of the case in which Nawaz was convicted was not dependent on the judge Malik’s statement or video.
He said as per the affidavit submitted by the judge, he has issued the verdict without any pressure or intimidation.
“The judge’s revelations do not eliminate the London flats, neither do they provide a money trail,” Naseem said, adding if the Sharifs provide a money trail cases will be quashed immediately.
“This entire case is [based on] documentary evidence. What are the justification and reconciliation of the assets [in question]? It’s a simple thing: if you provide a money trail today, you will be released immediately.”
“The law ministry and government stand by the judiciary; we will not victimise anyone or take sides but will not tolerate manipulation of the judiciary,” he asserted.
Speaking about the judge’s removal, he said Arshad sahib has been stopped from working as a judge and has been directed to report to the Lahore High Court, his parent department.
Judge Malik, in the affidavit, has alleged that he was offered Rs500 million cash bribe by Nawaz’s son, Hussain, “who demanded that the judge resign on the grounds that he could no longer deal with the guilt of having convicted Nawaz under duress” in the Al-Azizia reference.
Referring to those allegations, the law minister said: “According to National Accountability Ordinance Section 31  and this country’s law, if anyone tries to manipulate or bribe a judge, there is a separate punishment for that […] 10 year-sentence for intimidating judiciary.”
In the light of the affidavit, he said, the Sharifs can be tried under Section 31 of the NAB Ordinance [prohibition to hamper investigation], and a case can be made against them for bribing or intimidating judges that also carries a sentence of 10 years.
PROBE INTO JUDGE’S POSTING:
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar demanded a probe into the appointment of the judge.
“It has been said [in the affidavit] that the judge’s appointment was made with an ulterior motive. The judge in his affidavit says he did not even know he had been appointed,” said Akbar. “It is also important to note how the case was transferred to Arshad […] 70 to 80 per cent of the witnesses’ statements had been recorded in accountability judge Mohammad Bashir’s court but they [PML-N] expressed lack of confidence by design and the case was transferred.”
“The affidavit names Nawaz Sharif, who was out on bail at the time, saying he met the judge in Raiwind,” said Akbar. “The judge was given a script with a threat that if he did not say what was written, a video will be leaked and he would be defamed.”