Pakistani judge who jailed former PM sacked over blackmail claims

Maryam Nawaz (L), daughter of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, speaks as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif (R) looks on during a press conference in Lahore on July 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2019

Pakistani judge who jailed former PM sacked over blackmail claims

  • Judge Arshad Malik’s removal prompts calls by Sharif’s PML-N party for his release
  • Malik has denied he was blackmailed to convict the ex premier

ISLAMABAD: A senior Pakistani judge was sacked on Friday following a scandal over blackmail claims relating to the jailing of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on corruption charges, the law ministry said.
The removal of accountability court judge Arshad Malik prompted immediate calls by Sharif’s PML-N party for the release of the 69-year-old former premier, who is serving a seven-year jail sentence.
“The decision against Nawaz Sharif should be dismissed and he should be released immediately,” party spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb said, adding that Sharif’s conviction should be considered “void.”
Sharif was convicted and jailed last year after failing to prove the source of income that had led to his ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia. Under Pakistani law, this is taken to prove corruption.
The PML-N has disputed the conviction and last week party leaders presented a video apparently showing Malik saying he had been pressured into ruling in favor of conviction by individuals with compromising footage against him.
Malik later issued a statement denying he had been blackmailed to convict Sharif and saying the video had been manipulated. He also declared in an affidavit he had been offered bribes followed by blackmail threats by figures close to Sharif to rule in favor of the former premier. The Sharif family denies the charge.
After days of growing pressure, Islamabad High Court asked the law ministry to remove him from his position.
“Judge Arshad Malik was asked to stop working on the basis of the alleged video and the press release,” Law Minister Farogh Naseem told a news conference.
The scandal adds to an already heated political climate in Pakistan where Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, which came to power last year vowing to root out corruption, has been facing increasing economic difficulties.
Earlier this month it agreed to a $6 billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund, which has demanded a tough package of austerity measures.
As the problems have mounted, opposition parties have stepped up attacks, accusing the government and its allies in the military establishment of crushing dissent and orchestrating Sharif’s removal from power and conviction. The government and the military deny the charge.


Pakistan in control with England chasing 277 in first test

Updated 08 August 2020

Pakistan in control with England chasing 277 in first test

  • Leg-spinner Yasir Shah claimed two wickets as the home team, chasing a target of 277 for victory, slipped to 167-5
  • Earlier, Pakistan resumed on 137-8 and added a quickfire 32 runs before being bowled out for 169

MANCHESTER: Yasir Shah put Pakistan in pole position to beat England at tea on day four of the first test at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Leg-spinner Yasir claimed two wickets as the home team, chasing a target of 277 for victory, slipped to 167-5.

England’s hopes now rest largely with Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes, who went on the counter-attack at the fall of the fifth wicket and have so far shared an unbroken stand of 50.

Buttler is unbeaten on 32, with Woakes 26 not out.

Rory Burns was the first man out, falling lbw to Mohammad Abbas for 10. The England opener was given out by the on-field umpire and his decision to review the call proved in vain, with video replays showing the ball would have gone on to clip the top of the bails.

There appeared to be some friction between the two teams as Burns exchanged a few words with the Pakistani fielders on his way back to the pavilion, while putting his finger to his mouth as if to silence the opposition.

Captain Joe Root and Dom Sibley then put on 64 for the second wicket before Sibley was caught off Yasir for 36.

Fast bowler Naseem Shah struck 10 runs later to remove Root for 42 before dangerman Ben Stokes was caught by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan off Yasir for 9.

Ollie Pope also fell to a brute of a delivery from paceman Shaheen Afridi for seven.

Earlier, Pakistan resumed on 137-8 and added a quickfire 32 runs before being bowled out for 169.

Yasir led the way with 33 before he was caught behind by Buttler off Stuart Broad. Last-man Naseem (4) was then bowled by Jofra Archer.

Broad finished with figures of 3-37, taking his tally of victims to six in the match, and there were also two wickets apiece for Woakes and Stokes.