Former premier Nawaz Sharif filed on Monday a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict in the Judge Arshad Malik video scandal case.
Judge Malik had sentenced former premier Nawaz Sharif to jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case. During a press conference in June, PML-N leader Maryan Nawaz showed videos in which Judge Malik told another person that he was pressured into convicting former PM Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia mills case. The judge, however, denied the allegations.
On August 23, the Supreme Court ruled that the final decision in the Judge Malik case rests with the Islamabad High Court. It can choose whether to reopen the Al-Azizia case or admit the video as evidence in Nawaz’s appeal against his sentence.
Nawaz filed the petition in the case through his counsel, Khawaja Haris. The former premier made Judge Arshad Malik and others parties in his petition.
He said the court finalised parameters relating to the video’s admissibility without serving notices or listening to them. The former premier requested the court to review its decision after listening to their stance.
The verdict in Judge Malik video scandal case, written by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, said the video matter is the jurisdiction of the Islamabad High Court. The court is already hearing Nawaz Sharif’s appeal against his conviction and if it chooses, it can make the video admissible as evidence in that case. This of course depends on whether Nawaz’s lawyers choose to submit it as evidence and are able to verify its authenticity.
The SC also said that the Islamabad High Court will also decide if Judge Malik’s conduct necessitates a retrial in the case. It can either reappraise the evidence itself and decide the appeal on its merits or remand the case to the trial court for re-deciding the case after hearing of arguments of the parties on the basis of the evidence already recorded.
The judges refused to comment on the contents of the video and the video itself, citing its sub-judice nature (it’s being heard in the Islamabad High Court) but did comment on Judge Malik’s conduct.
“His admitted conduct emerging from that press release and the affidavit stinks and the stench of such stinking conduct has the tendency to bring bad name to the entire judiciary as an institution,” read the order. “He had unabashedly admitted in the press release and the affidavit that he had a shady past and had skeletons in his cupboard for which he was vulnerable to blackmail, during the trial being conducted by him he had been holding private meetings with sympathizers of the accused person being tried by him, he was threatened and inducements were offered to him during the trial but he had not reported the same to any superior authority and had never considered recusing from the trial, after convicting the accused person in the trial he had met the convict at his residence in a different city, he had even met a son of the convict in a different country and finally he had tried to help the convict in his appeal filed against his own judgment by dictating some grounds of appeal and pointing out some stated weaknesses in the case against the convict convicted by him,” the judges wrote.
“Such admitted conduct of the Judge was shocking, to say the least, besides being abhorrent and offensive to the image of a Judge in the society. His sordid and disgusting conduct has made the thousands of honest, upright, fair and proper Judges in the country hang their heads in shame,” it concluded.
On August 22, the Islamabad High Court repatriated the former accountability court judge to the Lahore High Court for initiation of “disciplinary proceedings” against him.
On July 12, the IHC acting chief justice had asked the Ministry of Law to remove Judge Malik from his position as an accountability court judge until an investigation into the video scandal was completed.
The IHC said the disclosures made by the judge in his earlier press release and affidavit with regard to the video scandal “constitute acts of misconduct and violation of the code of conduct”.