Video scandal raises questions over judicial system, says Bilawal


–PPP chief calls for free, transparent investigation to ensure institutional freedom

SUKKUR: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday said that the video scandal of accountability judge, Justice Arshad Malik, raises serious questions over the country’s judicial system.

Speaking to the media in Sukkur, the PPP chief said that there is something wrong with the system when the same judge oversees the cases against the country’s two biggest opposition leaders, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.

Expressing concerns over the alleged leaked video of the accountability judge, Bilawal called for a free and transparent investigation into the matter.

“A free and transparent investigation into the matter is essential for impartial and independent state institutions,” Bilawal said, adding that the same institutions and judges had failed to deliver justice to Zulikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto in the past.

He also said that he would continue his struggle for the independence of institutions as ridding them of external pressure would only benefit the country.

Justice Malik has been caught up in fire ever since Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz released an alleged confessional statement of the judge during her press conference, wherein the judge says that he sentenced Nawaz under pressure.

The judge, however, denied the accusations and said that the video had been manipulated and presented out of context.

The situation prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to ask the judiciary to investigate the matter. Government ministers also said that the government does not want to be involved in the conflict because the opposition would criticise the government for influencing the investigation.

On Friday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) removed Justice Malik from his post while the judge also submitted an affidavit in which he made shocking claims regarding the corruption references against Nawaz. The judge claimed that throughout the course of hearings, he received several offers for bribes and threats of physical harm if he did not give a favourable verdict in the references.

The judge further claimed that upon his refusal to give in to the threats and offers, Maryam had leaked a “manipulated” video in her press conference.

Meanwhile, Maryam too had been saying for the past few days that the video vindicates the former premier. She also demanded that the court verdict in Al-Azizia reference be overturned and Nawaz be released.