Has PM Khan called Sharifs "Sicilian mafia"?

Clay Curtis
July 14, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said the Pakistani mafia uses tricks such as blackmail and threats to pressurise the judiciary and other institutions just like the Sicilian mafia.

"The two persons, including Nasir Janjua and Mahar Jilani, have been meeting him since he was appointed Accountability Court-II Judge Islamabad and demanding him to give the decision in favour of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in HME and Flagship Investment references".

The judge had refuted the allegations put forth by Sharif's daughter soon after.

In a video released last week by Sharif's daughter Maryam, Justice Malik was purportedly seen confessing in a chat with a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader that he was under huge pressure from certain elements to convict the three-time premier in the graft case.

Mian Tariq was also involved in selling of smuggled TVs and LEDs, the sources said and added that his elder brother, Mian Edrees had been arrested in a smuggling case. However, Justice Farooq chose to write to the law ministry to relieve Justice Malik from his position as an accountability court judge until an investigation against him is completed, they said.

Sharif was convicted and jailed past year after failing to prove the source of income that had led to his ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia.

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"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 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.

Malik admitted to knowing Butt in a personal capacity, but denied any such blackmail had taken place. Judge Malik is now hearing several high-profile graft cases, including those against former president Asif Ali Zardari, former prime ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Shaukat Aziz.

Malik can be seen briefly in the footage, but for most of its duration, his face is not visible while a voice, purportedly his, can be heard detailing legal issues with the case against Sharif.

"Free Nawaz Sharif, the true people's representative, the three times elected Prime Minister who has been conspired against and wronged, not once but over and over again".

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