LAHORE              -        The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday terminated the services of District and Sessions Judge (D&SJ) Arshad Malik over misconduct. The same judge had sentenced former PM Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia corruption reference filed by the national accountability bureau.

The seven-member administrative committee, headed by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, issued the order in a meeting. Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Ali Baqar Najafi were other members of the committee.

The committee took the decision in the light of an inquiry report in the judge had been found guilty. Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem of the LHC had been tasked with the inquiry by the committee on August 26, 2019.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had accused judge Malik of convicting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference under duress. The same judge had acquitted the former prime minister in the Flagship Investments reference.

After PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had released alleged video/audio clips of judge Malik at a press conference in July, 2019, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had summoned him and directed him to submit an affidavit, explaining his position.

In his affidavit, the judge had denied the political party’s claim, saying he had been blackmailed by the PML-N supporters through an “immoral video”. He also admitted to meeting Nawaz Sharif at his Jati Umra residence and Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, the IHC, on August 22, 2019, suspended and repatriated the judge to the LHC, his parent department, for further disciplinary proceedings. The LHC on September 14 made the judge an officer on special duty (OSD) from the date of his suspension and posted him to the sessions’ court. D&SJ Malik had joined the district judiciary on Aug 1, 2000 and was promoted to the post of Sessions’ Judge on September 8, 2010. He was due to retire on May 24, 2022.