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July 19, 2019
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Gulf Times

‘Mafia’ tactics being used against judiciary

Internews/DPA Islamabad/Lahore

Prime Minister Imran Khan has alleged that the “Pakistani mafia” uses tricks such as blackmail and threats to pressure the judiciary and other institutions, just like the Sicilian mafia of Italy.
The prime minister proclaimed in a post on Twitter: “In a similar vein to the ‘Sicilian mafia’, the Pakistani mafia uses tactics of bribe, threat, blackmail and begging to pressure state institutions and the judiciary in order to protect their billions of money laundering stashed abroad.”
His tweet came after sacked accountability judge Arshad Malik, who is currently embroiled in a video controversy, claimed in a letter written to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that he was offered Rs100mn as a bribe.
In the letter, Malik claimed that he was offered Rs500mn by former premier Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain, along with resettlement of his entire family abroad, if he resigned on the grounds that he could no longer deal with the guilt of convicting Sharif without evidence.
Maryam Nawaz, Sharif’s daughter, created a storm last week by releasing a video of Malik in which he appeared to be confessing that he was pressured to convict Sharif and send him to jail.
The video shows Malik allegedly saying that he was blackmailed into convicting Sharif by people who had compromising material against him.
Malik later said that the video had been manipulated.
The Supreme Court will examine the video scandal tomorrow.
Sharif was removed from office on corruption allegations emanating from the 2016 Panama Papers leak detailing offshore tax evasion schemes.
His PML-N lost to Prime Minister Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the 2018 elections.
Yesterday Maryam, a Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president, called out Prime Minister Khan, accusing him of being part of the “mafia that pressures judges into targeting and punishing its political opponents”.
Taking to Twitter, Maryam wrote: “You’re a part of the mafia that pressures judges into targeting and punishing your political opponents.
“It is you who used the institutions to settle scores with your opponents and defaced and maligned them in the process. 
“Shame on you.”
Her tweet came in response to the tweet sent out by the prime minister earlier in the day.
On Friday, Law Minister Farogh Naseem confirmed that Malik, who handed Sharif a seven-year jail term in December for corruption, had been asked not to perform judicial duties.
His removal prompted the PML-N to demand Sharif’s immediate release. The three-time premier was removed from office by the Supreme Court in 2017.

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