ISLAMABAD    -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday ordered to repatriate Judge Arshad Malik to his parent department Lahore High Court for violating code of conduct.

Acting Registrar of IHC Syed Ahtesham Ali issued the notification to this effect. The notification stated: “The disclosures and admissions made by Mr Mohammad Arshad Malik, District & Sessions Judge/Former Judge, Accountability Court-II, Islamabad in his press release dated 07/07/2019 and the affidavit dated 11/07/2019, prima facie, constitute acts of misconduct and violation of the code of conduct which warrant initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him.”

The notification added: “Therefore, the Chief Justice of this Court has been pleased to order to place the said judicial officer under suspension and repatriate to his parent department i.e. Lahore High Court, with immediate effect, for disciplinary proceedings to be conducted in accordance with law.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will announce its verdict on petitions regarding Judge Arshad Malik’s video scandal today (Friday).

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa was hearing the case.

Last month, the Supreme Court took up the case on a petition submitted by a citizen named Ishtiaq Ahmed, who appealed the apex court for an independent judicial inquiry into the video scandal.

On July 12, judge Arshad Malik was relieved from his duties by the federal government for his alleged involvement in the controversial video scandal.

During the last proceedings, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that three weeks were given to complete the investigation and the report was regarding two videos – one which was used to blackmail the judge and the other which was shown in the press conference.

The chief justice remarked that the video would be of use for the release of Nawaz Sharif when a petition is filed. He added that it remained to be seen if a forensic audit could be carried out on a copy of the video and if this was possible for a YouTube video.

It was July 6 when PML-N vice-President Maryam Nawaz along with other PML-N leader in a press conference had shown the video wherein it was claimed that the judge of an accountability court confessed he had been “pressurised and blackmailed” to convict her father in the Al-Azizia reference. A video containing the judge’s alleged confession during his conversation with a ‘sympathizer’ of the PML-N, Nasir Butt, was screened during a hurriedly called presser at the party’s provincial headquarters in Model Town.

Later, Accountability Court judge Arshad Malik in a press release refuted Maryam Nawaz’s claim that he was blackmailed into sending former prime minister Nawaz Sharif behind bars in Al-Azizia case.

He maintained that the video revealed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice-president in a press conference as evidence was fake and it was in fact the PML-N leadership that tried to bribe and pressure him to rule in favour of its supreme leader.

The judge said that his verdict against Nawaz was free of any bias and he had not acted under any sort of pressure. “The video shown in Maryam Safdar’s press conference is contrary to facts and reality,” he said.

The judge’s press release maintained that he was a resident of Rawalpindi and had served as a lawyer before becoming a judge. Nasir Butt, with whom he (judge) was seen talking with in the video, also belonged to the same city and was a long-time acquaintance of the judge, the statement added.

The judge said that he had held innumerable meetings with Nasir and his brother Abdullah Butt in the past, but snippets of his conversations with Nasir had been cut and merged to present them out-of-context. “It was an attempt to discredit me and my judgments by piecing together snippets of conversations on different topics and at different times,” he said.