LAHORE - Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has termed Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s allegations against judge who convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif an attack on entire judiciary, challenging authenticity of the videotape on which her accusations were based.

Talking to reporters shortly after Maryam’s news conference here Saturday, Dr Firdous said, "You [Maryam] have not accused one judge but the entire judiciary."

She said Nasir Butt, who had taped Judge Arshad Malik’s alleged conversation, had served as security guard to the former premier’s daughter in London and was a murderer at large.

She recalled that during PML-N’s second rule a taped conversation of then accountability judge Malik Qayyum had surfaced and heard by a large number of people. (In this tape, the judge was being given instructions how much sentence should Benazir Bhutto be awarded in case against her. The judge had assured the then Punjab chief minister and Ehtesab Commission chairman that she would be given maximum punishment. Benazir Bhutto had gone abroad a couple of weeks before being sentenced).

Challenging the authenticity of the tape released by Maryam Nawaz, Firdous said forensic audit of controversial video tape will be conducted to check its authenticity and establish its status. She advised Sharifs to take the tape to courts and prove their innocence there. “Maryam has tried to play with the sentiments of the nation,” she alleged.

The SAPM said it was possible that Nasir Butt had taken a briefcase to the judge (to get a favourable verdict) but when he refused to oblige, the tape was released.

She said the tape should have been presented in court that had taken up the appeal filed by the former prime minister.

She alleged that Maryam was hurling threats at institutions.

Referring to the presence of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif at Maryam’s news conference, the SAPM said the former chief minister appeared like a man who had lost the gamble.

Barrister Shehzad Akbar, special assistant on accountability, said if whatever Maryam Nawaz was assumed to be right, at most a fresh trial of the same case would become necessary. Nothing else, he emphasised.

He said the government would not like to take up this matter at all.

Barrister Shehzad said judiciary was the right forum to look into this matter.

He said if the former prime minister had not been given justice, the Sharifs should take the matter to judiciary.

 

Agencies add: Firdous said it is violation of law to record private conversation of any judge. "The judge's conversation and the contents' credibility will be evaluated. Are they real or tampered? Credible? True or false? It will only be determined after the audit," she said, before adding: "We will hide nothing from the people."

Firdous alleged, “Maryam simply sought to gather people's sympathy. She is using this tape to try to save PML-N’s sinking ship".

She went on to say that the people must be made aware of the character based on whom she had brought forward such allegations.

"Nasir Butt, whom she has declared is the source [...] people should know this person's credibility."

"This Nasir Butt was a famous murderer, absconder, the leader of a gang of thugs and an important member of a drug ring who after committing five murders ran away to London and for 20 years remained an absconder and worked as a bodyguard for Zille Subhani."

She said when they came to power, "they (PML-N) had all cases against him removed, brought the absconder back to the country and used him to do such despicable acts."

"When a person's credibility is such, when his character and his recognition is linked to the mafia, the people of Pakistan can analyse and assess themselves such a person's role in recording a tape and presenting it to the princess to gain media mileage and to hatch a new conspiracy to make people go astray."

She said the flip side of the whole saga must also be considered.

"This same Nasir Butt perhaps took your customary briefcase to the judge to buy out his conscience. And when he did not conform to your wishes, then [you created] this baseless propaganda in an attempt to stain an honourable institution. We condemn this.

"And if you have any genuine, authentic, realistic, justified proofs, the courts stand free [to review them]. Instead of conducting a media trial, take the ‘proof’ to court. Let the court decide.

"Your case and the sentence have not finished. That same court has given you relief on which you are levelling allegations."