Accountability Court-II Judge Arshad Malik has claimed that PML-N leaders Mahar Jilani, Nasir Janjua, Khurram Yousaf and Nasir Butt, along with PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif’s son, Hussain Nawaz, tried to offer him a bribe and threatened him so that he would rule in Nawaz’s favour in the corruption references against the former PM.
Malik announced the verdict in the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship references against Nawaz on December 24, 2018. He was sentenced to seven years in jail in one reference and acquitted in the other. Controversy arose after PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz said during a press conference that the judge was blackmailed into convicting Nawaz without any evidence and he admitted to it.
He submitted on Friday a letter and statement in the Islamabad High Court in his defence in the video case.
The judge said that he was appointed as an accountability judge in February 2018. Janjua, in a social setting, told him that he was appointed on the “specific and personal recommendation” of Nawaz. When the Al Azizia and Flagship references were transferred to him, many PML-N leaders came to him with “demands, inducements, and threats to acquit Mian Nawaz Sharif” in the cases, he said in the reply.
The offer was then followed by a “thin veiled threat of physical and intimidation [sic]” by Butt, the same PML-N leader who the judge was talking to in the video shown during Maryam’s press conference. He claims that Butt told him that Nawaz has helped Butt avoid punishment in four to five murder cases and he was willing to go to any extent to help his PML-N ‘Quaid’.
None of the tactics worked on him and he gave the verdict on the references “on merit”, Malik said.
The judge then goes to say that he was threatened and bribed once again after the verdict was given. In February 2019, he met Yousaf and Butt who asked him about the ‘Multan video’. He said that he wasn’t able to draw the connection at the time but later met an old acquaintance from Multan who showed him a “secretly recorded manipulated immoral video [showing him] in a compromising position” and said that it was him in the video. The video was reportedly made when Malik was serving as an additional district and sessions judge from 2002 to 2003.
On June 1, 2019, Butt forced him to come with him to meet Hussain while he was in Saudi Arabia on a trip with his family. Hussain in a “tone and manner [that] was palpably aggressive and intimidating” offered me a bribe of Rs500 million. Nawaz’s son also told him that the judge and his family would be relocated to either the UK, Canada or any other country. In return, the judge was told that he will have to “formally resign” on the grounds that he can no longer deal with the “guilt of having convicted Mian Nawaz Sharif under duress and without evidence”.
The judge said that he declined the offer. Then Yousaf once again made him the same offer. When he declined it for the second time, then Maryam held the press conference. The judge claims that “false and malicious allegations” were made against him in it.
On Friday, the Islamabad High Court acting chief justice has asked the federal law ministry to remove Judge Malik from his position as an accountability court judge until an investigation against him is completed.