SC to announce video scandal verdict in 2-3 days
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Tuesday 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 Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, heard the case. Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and Federal Investigation Agency Director General Bashir Memon were also present to argue the matter.
During the hearing, Chief Justice Khosa discussed the interim report submitted by the FIA director general earlier Tuesday. The top judge observed that the case concerned two videos — one through which the judge was blackmailed, and the other which was aired at Maryam Nawaz’s press conference. The chief justice said, “Thousands of judges in the country who are honest and upright, their heads have been bent with shame due to the conduct of Judge Malik”.
The bench, however, raised questions about the authenticity of the videos in question. The chief justice noted that judge Malik had already admitted that the “objectionable video” was real. “But how will the video, which was shown in the press conference, be proven as authentic?” he asked.
He wondered why the federal government was protecting him and Judge Malik was not being repatriated to Lahore High Court so that disciplinary proceedings could be initiated against him who had been blackmailed and was vulnerable to be blackmailed in the future.
“Judge Malik might get blackmailed by the federal government as it has obtained [an] objectionable video. It’s very dangerous,” said the CJP.
“The report says that the audio of the video was recorded separately. During the press conference, the video also had subtitles. It seems like someone has tampered with the video,” the chief justice observed.
The attorney general told the bench that a forensic examination of judge Malik’s “objectionable video” had been carried out but said that it would be “very difficult” to ascertain the authenticity of the clip that was shown in Maryam’s press conference, because it was taken from YouTube.
Justice Khosa said that experts should be consulted to find out if a forensic examination of the video can be done. Chief Justice Khosa also noted that as per the interim report, Nasir Janjua, one of the main suspects in the case, had said he had been instrumental in the judge’s appointment. The chief justice asked if the individual who had taken the final decision to appoint judge Malik had come forward, to which the attorney general responded in the negative. He told the top court that Malik had been posted to the accountability court on March 13, 2018.
“This would mean that after the Panama Papers verdict [was issued in July 2017], the government at the time had appointed judge Arshad Malik,” the chief justice observed.
The chief justice then inquired if any complaint, saying that the video was being used to someone’s benefit, had been submitted. The attorney general answered in the negative.
“This video can only benefit someone if it is produced [as evidence] in a case,” Justice Khosa remarked. The attorney general said that neither Tariq Mahmood nor Janjua, the “two important characters” in the scandal, were in the country.