Accountability judge ‘blackmailed’ to issue anti-Nawaz verdict: Maryam Sharif

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Maryam Nawaz Sharif, senior PML-N leader, addressing a press conference held in Lahore on Saturday July 06, 2019. (Photo courtesy: PML-N twitter account)
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In this July 5, 2017 file photo, Maryam Nawaz (center), the daughter of Nawaz Sharif waves while she arrives to talk with media following appearing before a Joint Investigation Team, in Islamabad. (AP)
Updated 06 July 2019

Accountability judge ‘blackmailed’ to issue anti-Nawaz verdict: Maryam Sharif

  • Daughter of jailed former PM holds press conference, shows video of judge who sentenced Nawaz Sharif
  • Government spokesperson says Maryam had maligned the institution of the judiciary

ISLAMABAD: Maryam Nawaz, senior PML-N leader and the daughter of jailed, three time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said on Saturday her father was wrongfully convicted in a corruption reference because the judge presiding over his case was “blackmailed” into issuing a verdict against him.
Sharif is currently serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia.
At a press conference flanked by other senior leaders of the PMLN, Maryam revealed that PMLN leader Nasir Butt was invited by the accountability judge, Arshad Malik, who confessed during their meeting that he was forced to issue an “unjust” verdict against the country’s disqualified prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, by people who blackmailed him with a “personal video.”
Describing the clip as “divine help” for her family, Maryam said that the judge had highlighted several flaws in his judgment that he wanted Nasir Butt to convey to Sharif’s lawyers, which would help him be acquitted in appeal hearings.
Sharif has always termed the charges against him politically motivated and accused the military and courts of working together to end his political career and destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party. Both deny the charge.
The PML-N lost to the party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the new prime minister, in July 2018 polls. Sharif accused the military of backing Khan. Khan and the military deny the accusation.
Maryam’s press conference was soon followed by a media talk by the country’s de facto information minister, Firdous Ashiq Awan, who condemned the allegations against the accountability judge and claimed that the PML-N had maligned the judiciary.
Awan said that a forensic audit of the tape would be conducted soon, adding it was important to see if the content of the video was “real or tampered.”

Partnership with Pakistan can set science advance for Arab world – minister

Updated 24 January 2020

Partnership with Pakistan can set science advance for Arab world – minister

  • Islamabad and Riyadh have yet to cooperate in science
  • Pakistan can solve many of Saudi Arabia’s technology problems, says science minister

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s minister of science and technology on Thursday said his country’s expertise in the field of technology could benefit the Arab world, especially if a special technical partnership is forged with Saudi Arabia.

“I would like closer cooperation with the Arab world in science and technology,” Fawad Chaudry said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

He noted that while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia already cooperate on a large scale, scientific cooperation has yet to be established.

The former information minister, who eight months ago was assigned the science and technology portfolio and pledged breakthrough advancements said that Pakistan is the world’s fourth-largest freelance software exporter, “so instead of relying on Europe and USA for routine software, and pay huge money for that,” the Arab world should rather focus on Pakistan. “We will be able to bring your requirements, frankly much cheaper than what you are getting now, and the standard will be as good.”

“The Arab world can benefit immensely from Pakistan’s experience.”

When asked what cooperation he seeks with the Kingdom, he said: “Saudi Arabia can take care of the budgets. This technical cooperation of Pakistan will actually solve many of Saudi Arabia’s technology problems.”

Pakistan is engaged in multimillion-dollar worth projects under the Islamic Development Bank’s (IsDB) Science, Technology and Innovation Transform Fund, which aim to help Muslim countries find practical solutions to their key development challenges through the power of innovation.

“I hope that once that fund will be available, we will be able to help many other Muslim countries,” the minister said, explaining that Pakistan wants to contribute to the smart villages concept. “We would like to give this smart village experience to other Muslim countries, African Muslim nations, and the Middle East.”

Smart villages use innovative solutions to improve the resilience of rural communities through facilities such as sustainable energy services to enable their access to education, health care, better nutrition, and sanitation.

Highlighting his country’s technological advancements, the minister cited Pakistani-made unmanned aerial vehicles. He said that since drone technology in Pakistan is advanced as in Europe, “on the issues of surveillance, agriculture, and many other areas, we can immensely help the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia.”