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.
"This is the first time I have seen someone crying for power like this. He is crying that no one came out for him," said the PML-N leader
Maryam Nawaz is seen as the most influential politician in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party that has her uncle Shehbaz Sharif leading a coalition government at present.
During his speech, Imran said: “Someone sent me a clip on social media of Maryam’s speech, somewhere. She took my name so many times and with so much passion, I want to tell her that Maryam, please be careful, your husband might get upset the way you call my name again and again.”
A number of senior officials and members of the UAE Embassy in the Sultanate of Oman were also among the recipients.
More than 13,500 people - about 12% of the region's population - have fled across the border since Azerbaijan’s swift military operation to fully reclaim the region after three decades of separatist rule, Armenia's government said Tuesday morning.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of condolences to Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, on the death of Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The two-day event will bring together over 3,000 distinguished attendees including influential media personalities, ministers and heads of leading local, Arab and international media organisations, as well as thought leaders, intellectuals and writers.