Pakistan’s top court has ordered the FIA to complete its investigation in the Judge Arshad Malik video leak case.
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.
A three-member bench, headed by the chief justice, was hearing the case on Tuesday. The court has directed the agency to submit its report in the court too.
Khan said that they have received different requests in all three petitions filed in the case. One has asked for the formation of a judicial commission, the other one says that the judge should be investigated. “All the facts are in front of the court. Malik has submitted his affidavit too,” he remarked.
He told the court that if a person is found guilty of violating Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 then that person will be imprisoned for three years and a fine of Rs1 million will be imposed. Those who blackmail others can be jailed for up to five years with a fine of Rs5 million. Those involved in forgery can be jailed for three years with Rs0.15 million fine.
The main suspect in the case, Mian Tariq Mahmood, has been arrested too, said the attorney general. He has been remanded into FIA’s custody too. He said that the investigating agencies have even found a Land Cruiser from his possession which he received from those who sold him the video. Mahmood was even given a cheque but it bounced. The suspect reportedly has many videos of the same judge. He sold one of the videos to a man named Mian Saleem Razanami who then gave it to Butt, who is currently not in Pakistan, the attorney general added.
The suspended judge has disputed some of Maryam’s claims, AG Khan said. There are two main aspects of the case, he remarked, adding that one relates to his appointment as a judge and the other one refers to the verdict given in the Al Azizia Steel Mills case.
“We have to see how honest the judge is,” observed the chief justice. “The audio and video shown during the PML-N press conference were recorded separately. They combined them and showed them as one. It shows that it wasn’t the real video.” He ordered the authorities to try to recover the original video.
AG Khan remarked that there is no need to form a judicial commission as they have a legal forum to handle the issue.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the court has to assess all aspects of the case to determine the truth.
The top judge said that the court has different options in this case. “The first one is to let FIA investigate the case, second is to see what laws have been violated, we can even see if it come under Pakistan Penal Code, the fourth option is to let PEMRA investigate it,” he remarked. “One option is that all petitions should be dismissed, and the last option is that the court takes the decision itself.”
The high court can give relief to Nawaz after reviewing the evidence, he said. The attorney general told the court that no case has been filed over the issue in the high court.
“We have to see if the top court’s interference help the case or will news be made from it,” said Justice Khosa. “We will review the judge’s conduct ourselves. Was it correct for the judge to visit the convict’s house after sentencing him? Was it correct for him to meet the convict’s relatives and friends? We will make a decision on this ourselves.”
The case will be taken up after three weeks.