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Pakistan: Lower court to weigh video on Sharif case

Supreme Court rules it would be inappropriate to assess video relevant to ex premier's appeal case

Aamir Latif   | 23.08.2019
Pakistan: Lower court to weigh video on Sharif case

KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan's top court ruled for a lower court to assess a much-publicized video at the center of a scandal involving the conviction of a former premier jailed for corruption case, the court record said.

The country's Supreme Court referred a video showing judge Arshad Malik -- purportedly admitting that he had convicted ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif "under pressure" -- to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for detailed assessment of authenticity.

The court declared that the video could only benefit the jailed former premier once it was properly assessed by the IHC, which is currently hearing Sharif's appeal against his seven-year jail term handed down in connection to a corruption case last year.

"We find that it may not be an appropriate stage for this court to interfere in the matter of the relevant video and its effects," the court said, adding that this was because the video was related to the appeal case before the IHC.

"The relevant video cannot be if any legal benefit to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif unless it is properly produced before the Islamabad High Court, Islamabad in the pending appeal, its genuineness is established and then the same is proved in accordance with the law for it to be treated as evidence in the case," the verdict read.

The IHC, which supervises all trial courts in the capital, has already removed the judge for his alleged misconduct .

The judge was thrust into the spotlight in July when Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, screened a purported video during a news conference, in which the judge was seen confessing to have been "blackmailed" to rule against the three-time premier.

Maryam claimed that Malik sent a message through a friend to her family saying he did not feel easy after convicting Sharif. She also alleged that the judge even accepted that Sharif was innocent and that no allegations could be proven against him.

She said that in the alleged video, Arshad Malik had recounted that "some individuals" contacted him during the hearing of the case against Nawaz Sharif and threatened to release personal images of the judge if he did not rule as they demanded.

The judge, however, refuted Maryam's claims and accused the Sharif family of threatening and offering him a bribe in exchange for the former premier's acquittal.

On Dec. 24, 2018, Malik sentenced Sharif to seven years in jail after a 15-month legal process, popularly known as the Al Azizia Steel Mills case.

Sharif is currently serving his prison term in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

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