Another day, another leak. Alleged leaked video of Judge Arshad Malik, judge accountability court, has significantly impacted the political discourse in Pakistan. The judge has denied the PML-N’s version and made it clear that the video is fake and fallacious. Pakistani media and public intellectuals are debating regarding the content of the video and speculating about its possible political and legal implications.
PML-N had released a video clip, purportedly, showing an accountability court judge admitting to the lack of evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
Following the denial of the judge, Maryam Nawaz, daughter of convicted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and newly appointed vice president of the party, stated that she understood the constraints due to which the judge took that particular decision.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan dismissed the claims made by PML-N. She also maintained how a baseless story was being cooked to blame and defame the state institutions. “A baseless story was concocted for their own vested interests to make the institutions controversial. It’s not naivety but classic hatred in politics,” she added.
The PM’s special assistant also clarified that if the claims were valid, they should have been presented before the courts rather than to the media. She added that the man in the video, Nasir Butt, is a proclaimed offender. Analysts believe that the story has been made up for wider political interests.
There is a common perception that the objective was to create a political situation which may help pressurize the courts so that they may offer some relief to Nawaz Sharif. Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent political commentator, has tweeted “So is there a script? CJ Asif Khosa will be pushed by media to provide relief to Nawaz Sharif through Maryam’s political stunt? Game plan & players getting obvious!”
Someone who was visiting the judge in probate capacity should be probed for leaking a video containing personal discussion. He based his argument on the premise that many foreign diplomats and ministers often meet journalists and frequently share their own off-the-record information as well.
When both sides have spoken, it is time for retrospection for both politicians and the judiciary. The press conference was also attended by PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, who has never been questioned either by the media or courts for his audio tapes wherein he was heard telling a sitting judge of a superior court to convict Benazir Bhutto at the earliest. Other audio tapes of their accountability lord Saifur Rehman have also refused to go away from the public memory despite the passage of two decades. The old players of this dirty game might know more about such tricks.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-President and daughter of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, has demanded the resignation of Prime Minster Imran Khan.
Maryam Nawaz repeatedly claimed during her speech that it’s time for Nawaz Sharif to be released without any delay. If they failed to do so, the consequences may be dire for those who have captivated her father.
The situation will become better in the days to come, if Maryam and her legal counsel decides to present the video as evidence before the court. If the video is not presented before the court and used solely for political purposes, there may be some more legal complications for Maryam, since it will amount to defamation of the court.
The judge should have not taken a lenient view of the bribe offers and threats to him during the trial. Any attempt, either by the member of the public or from the courts of law, to discredit the judiciary should be taken seriously.