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Saturday Jul 06 2019

Maryam releases alleged video of Al-Azizia case judge claiming he was 'blackmailed'


LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has released a video clip purportedly showing an accountability court judge allegedly admitting to a lack of evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

In December, the accountability court judge had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison in the same corruption case.

PML-N Vice-President and Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz showed the alleged video and read out its transcript on Saturday at a press conference lasting more than an hour. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and other senior party leaders accompanied Maryam Nawaz at the press conference.

The video purportedly shows the accountability court judge speaking to a PML-N worker named Nasir Butt and claiming that he was coerced to hand down the prison sentence against Nawaz Sharif despite there being no proof of corruption against the deposed premier.

Maryam alleged that the video shows the judge admitting that no evidence of embezzlement of funds in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia was found against Hussain Nawaz Sharif.

She said the judge had contacted Nasir Butt and told him that he was feeling guilty and having nightmares ever since he announced the verdict that led to Nawaz Sharif's imprisonment.

The judge was "blackmailed" into handing down the sentence against Nawaz Sharif after some people threatened that they would release a private video of his, she alleged. She said the judge did not write the sentence but "was made to write" the prison sentence for Nawaz Sharif. 

She claimed the judge was under immense pressure to send the former prime minister to jail, and that he had contemplated committing suicide several times since. 

Speaking at the press conference, Maryam termed the alleged video "divine intervention" which had arrived to help her father at a time when he had given up hopes of getting justice from the courts.

She said the one who handed down the sentence had now himself admitted that Nawaz Sharif was wronged. She claimed the video vindicated her father and was evidence of his innocence. 

The PML-N vice-president sent out a warning before ending the press conference.

"Anybody thinking of any mischief or playing any dirty games, I want to tell you. I have much bigger proof than this. There are also some names in that proof which I do not want to take. Do not force me," she said. 

She hoped that the Supreme Court would take notice of this 'evidence' and that she wants her father to be respectfully acquitted from the courts.