Pakistan’s top court took up on Tuesday three petitions seeking inquiry into Judge Arshad Malik’s video leak controversy. The bench has asked the attorney general to submit his recommendations in the case.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa was heading the bench. The petitions have been filed by Ishtiaq Mirza, Sohail Akhtar, and Tariq Asad.
Judge Malik sentenced former PM Nawaz Sharif to prison for seven years after convicting him in the Al Azizia Steel Mills case. In a press conference on July 6, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz showed videos of the judge telling Nasir Butt, a member of the PML-N, that he was pressurised into convicting Nawaz. The judge, however, denied the video and claimed that what he said has been taken out of context. Many people have even asked for authorities to conduct a forensic analysis of the video.
On Tuesday, the top judge asked for attorney general and he was informed that Anwar Mansoor Khan is currently in Hague to hear the International Court of Justice’s verdict in the Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
“We have to take his advice in the case,” the chief justice said. “We have to see how much the court can interfere in the matter.”
Mirza’s lawyer, Munir Sadiq, said that leveling accusations against the judiciary is a public matter. The PM and Pakistan Bar Council have demanded that notice should be taken of the case, he said.
The chief justice said that the court does not function on anyone’s demands. The judiciary works independently. If it starts listening to people’s demands then people will start asking how free it is really. “Independent institutions work on their own and not one someone’s demands,” he remarked.
Even your petition says that the judges should not work on anyone’s demands, the top judge said. The court has the power to take suo motu action. It won’t be suo motu if it’s taken on someone’s demand, he added.
Everyone is equal before the court. There is no high-profile person here, the judge added.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the case raises questions about the reputation of the courts, and whether the verdict in Al Azizia case was correct or not.
“We already have a law on the misconduct of judges,” he said.
Ikram Chaudhry, who is representing Sohail Akhtar, said that contempt proceedings must be initiated. To this, the top judge said that such proceedings would mean that the allegations leveled by the PML-N leaders are false.
The case has been adjourned till July 23.