Judge Arshad video scandal: Supreme Court to announce verdict in two-three days

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa stated that the Supreme Court would announce its verdict on petitions regarding judge Arshad Malik’s video scandal in two-three days.

A three-member bench, headed by the chief justice heard the case today with Director General (DG) FIA Bashir Memon and Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan present in court.

During proceedings, the attorney general informed the court that Judge Arshad Malik was posted to the accountability court on March 13, 2018. The chief justice then asked if the person who had appointed the judge had come forward, to which the attorney general responded no. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa then remarked that Nasir Janjua had claimed he had appointed Judge Arshad Malik. Further, the chief justice said this meant that after the Panama Papers verdict, the government at the time had appointed the judge.

Justice Azmat Saeed asked if a forensic audit of the video shown in the press conference could be conducted. To this DG FIA replied that they did not have the video. Expressing anger, Justice Saeed then remarked that apart from the FIA this video was available to the entire country and people in Pakistan and the court were asking if the video was real.

DG FIA then informed the court that a forensic audit of the video had not carried out, assuring the apex court that this would be done.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that three weeks were given to complete the investigation and the report was regarding two videos – one which was used to blackmail the judge and the other which was shown in the press conference.

The chief justice inquired whether a petition had been filed in court to obtain any legal benefit, to which the attorney general said no petition had been filed.

The chief justice remarked that the video would be of use for the release of Nawaz Sharif when a petition is filed. He added that it remained to be seen if a forensic audit could be carried out on a copy of the video and if this was possible for a YouTube video.

Justice Umar Atta Bandial remarked that those who had made this story were now disassociating themselves from it.

The chief justice added that if this video was proven to be real it would be quite effective. He said that Judge Arshad Malik has a past and could be blackmailed by anyone.

The attorney general said that it would be difficult to prove this video to be authentic, to which the chief justice remarked that even the judge had confessed to the objectionable video, but how will the authenticity of the video shown in the press conference be proven.

The FIA’s report was presented in the court which also included statements of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif.  DG FIA informed the court that when Maryam Nawaz was asked where she received this video from, her response was that she did not know who made the video and received it from a worker. She added that the video was on a phone which did not have a SIM card.

Last month, the Supreme Court took up the case on a petition submitted by a citizen named Ishtiaq Ahmed, who appealed to the apex court for an independent judicial inquiry of the video scandal.

On July 12, judge Arshad Malik was relieved from his duties by the federal government for his alleged involvement in the controversial video scandal.

Arshad Malik, in his letter to the IHC, alleged he was offered a bribe by Hussain Nawaz. “Nasir Janjua came to meet me and claimed that he had the cash equivalent of Rs 100 million in Euros for me immediately available out of which the Euro equivalent of Rs 20 million was laying in his car parked outside.

“I was told that Mian Sahib is willing to pay whatever I demand on acquitting him in both references. However, I declined the bribe offered to me while committing remains sticking to merits,” he said in his letter.