Tariq Butt, Staff Reporter
Accountability court judge Arshad Malik has claimed that he was offered a Rs500 million cash bribe by the son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, who demanded that the judicial officer resign on the grounds that he "could no longer deal with the guilt of having convicted" the ex-premier under duress.
The judge claimed in the affidavit that he was offered bribes and threatened with dire consequences by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) representatives initially to force him into issuing verdicts in favour of Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investments references, and later to coerce him into resigning from his office.
Malik claimed that in early 2018, an acquaintance named Nasir Janjua, who was associated with the PML-N, "implored" him to issue verdicts of acquittal in the references, saying that it was on his personal recommendation to then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he (Malik) was appointed as judge in the accountability court.
During the arguments stage of the references' trial, the judge said he was again approached by Janjua with a "financial offer" from Nawaz of Rs100 million but that he refused the offer.
The offer was shortly followed by a "thinly veiled threat of physical harm and intimidation" by Nasir Butt, the PML-N 'sympathiser' who recorded the video shared by Maryam that started the controversy, the judge claimed.
"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 immense 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.
He said when he refused to accept the bribes and give in to the alleged threats, "manipulated" video clips were screened by Maryam Nawaz at a press conference in which she claimed the judge had confessed to have been "pressured and blackmailed" into issuing a verdict against Nawaz.
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