Pakistan sacks judge accused of 'blackmail' in ex-PM Sharif case

Pak Judge Who Jailed Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif Sacked Over Blackmail Claims

Judge Malik, after being removed from his position as an accountability court judge, was asked by the Ministry of Law to report to the Law Division.

Soon after the video surfaced, top PML-N leadership demanded release of Sharif from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, while the Imran Khan-led government distanced itself from the controversy, saying that the matter pertained to judiciary and it should deal with it. Apparently, the decision to remove Justice Malik has also been made in light of the aforementioned section.

In a video released last week by Sharif's daughter Maryam, Justice Malik was purportedly seen confessing in a chat with a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader that he was under huge pressure from certain elements to convict the three-time premier in the graft case.

"The threat was delivered by Nasir Butt saying to me in an intimidating tone that he owed Nawaz Sharif a lot, as he (ex-premier) had helped him avoid punishment for 4-5 murders committed by him (Butt) by using his vast political influence and, therefore, he (Butt) was willing to go to any extent to help [Nawaz] in the trials he was facing", judge Malik claimed.

Malik further maintained that two people, Mehr Jilani and Nasir Janjua, during the trial of the two cases, told him that Nawaz was ready to pay anything in return for verdicts in his favour.

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The judge said Nasir Janjua had claimed that he had about Rs100 million in euros as advance payment of which Rs20 million was in the vehicle he had arrived in.

In a series of tweets, the PML-N VP said that "the matter was not about the removal of a judge instead it was about suspending the verdict that the judge [Malik] had issued". Opposition leader in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif also called for the immediate release of his elder brother. "He said I would be shown the video in a few days", he stated.

"The judge further claimed that he was blackmailed after being shown the video" and told to record an audio message that he delivered the verdicts to appease the "ruling elite" under an vast pressure and that substantial evidence was not available against the former prime minister. Pakistan law minister Farogh Nasim said at a press conference that no sentence can be overturned unless the HC finds the verdict was issued under duress by the accountability judge.

The judge, elaborating the April 6 meeting in the affidavit, further wrote that he had accompanied Nasir Butt to Jati Umra where Nawaz "personally received" them. Maryam claimed the judge had admitted before Butt that there was no proof of any wrongdoing against Sharif but he was forced to announce an unfair verdict.

He called the video "a lie [and] fake" and accused the Sharif family of threatening and offering him a bribe in exchange for acquitting the former prime minister.

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