Sharif's son offered me Rs500m bribe to resign, claims Pak judge

Sharif's son offered me Rs500m bribe to resign, claims Pak judge

The Islamabad High Court on Friday has chose to remove accountability judge, Justice Arshad Malik, from his post over ongoing leaked video controversy.

In a video released last week by Sharif's daughter Maryam, Justice Malik was purportedly seen confessing in a chat with a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader that he was under huge pressure from certain elements to convict the three-time premier in the graft case.

She claimed the judge was blackmailed into convicting Nawaz without any evidence and had admitted that. However, in a press statement the following day, the judge refuted the accusation and dubbed the video as a "conspiracy hatched to affect his credibility".

He said that the bribe was soon followed by a threat of physical harm from Nasir Butt, who had told him that "Mian Nawaz Sharif had helped him avoid punishment for 4-5 murders he had committed and he was willing to go to any extend to help Mian Sahib in the trials he was facing".

But Judge Malik maintains the video clip is not representative of their conversation. The minister said the conviction of Sharif can only be overturned by a high court.

Judge Malik, after being removed from his position as an accountability court judge, was asked by the Ministry of Law to report to the Law Division.

"The threat was delivered by Nasir Butt saying to me in an intimidating tone that he owed Nawaz Sharif a lot, as he (ex-premier) had helped him avoid punishment for 4-5 murders committed by him (Butt) by using his vast political influence and, therefore, he (Butt) was willing to go to any extent to help [Nawaz] in the trials he was facing", judge Malik claimed. "If this is the case, how can a verdict by this judge be maintained", she asked.

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He explained to the media that the Al-Azizia judgement would not be overturned unless the IHC decided the verdict had been issued under duress.

He said that he was not pressurized by anyone to deliver verdict against Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference and that the decision was announced while fulfilling all the requirements of justice. He also called for an investigation into the video.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government would neither favour anyone nor would disfavour.

Mirza states in the petition that the leaked video, as it appears, raises questions over the judiciary's independence.

A three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will hear the petition on July 16. "However, I believe that the scope of the matter will be kept restricted to this particular incident only and it will not be made basis for across-the-board scrutiny of judiciary - lower or superior", he said.

The organisation also said the move was "indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies" in Pakistan.

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