ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday called the explosive affidavit by former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Mohammad Shamim “the third major testimony from within the judiciary” that she claimed proved her and her father Nawaz Sharif’s innocence.
She was speaking outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which conducted a hearing on Maryam’s appeal seeking annulment of her conviction in the Avenfield apartments reference.
The Avenfield proceedings were thrust into the limelight on Monday after The News ran a report carrying allegations by Justice Shamim that former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had influenced judicial proceedings to prolong Nawaz and Maryam’s detention following their conviction in the reference.
The IHC had taken notice of the report the same day and during Tuesday’s hearing, issued show-cause notices to The News editor Aamir Ghouri and journalist Ansar Abbasi, judge Shamim, and editor-in-chief of Jang Group Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman.
“We knew that the oppressors’ days were numbered but we didn’t expect the truth would come to light so soon,” said Maryam while talking to the media on Wednesday.
She named former IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and the late accountability judge Arshad Malik as the other two “witnesses” who spoke the truth [about Nawaz’s innocence].
“Instead of his statement being taken seriously, he [Siddiqui] was expelled from service. His case was then referred to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and he is waiting for justice,” she said, alleging the case of Arshad Malik was “deliberately ignored”.
“The man who had announced the conviction [in the Al Azizia reference] gave a statement expressing the truth about Nawaz Sharif in his life.”
Justice Siddiqui in 2018 had claimed that personnel of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were manipulating judicial proceedings, particularly ones involving Nawaz and Maryam.
In July 2019, Maryam Nawaz had presented recorded video clips of judge Malik in which she claimed the judge admitted to convicting Nawaz unjustly due to “immense pressure”.
The judge, who passed away in 2020, had denied the allegations at the time, saying there was no pressure on him to convict Sharif and that the videos shown by Maryam were “fake and based on lies”.
Referring to the IHC’s proceedings on The News report, she said that the first notice should have been sent to former CJP Nisar. She questioned why a former chief justice was exempted from court appearance, especially when three-time former prime minister Sharif never objected to appearing in courts in cases against him.
She said Sharif’s innocence was proven by three judges, “but the verdict against him is still intact and the nation is watching all of this.”
The PML-N leader said the former GB judge made his statement under oath and had also asked Nisar to submit his response in the same manner, but the latter “ran away”.
She accused the former CJP of targeting PML-N leaders for the framing of contempt-of-court charges to “stop them from contesting elections”.
“Talal Chaudhry and many others were targeted through suo motu notices,” she alleged. “They were thrown out of electoral competition under a plan because he [ex-CJP] knew these people will be elected to strengthen the electoral muscle of the PML-N.”
She also called the statement of former CJP Nisar declaring PM Imran Khan ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ (honest and righteous) a “biggest sin”. She held the former top judge responsible for “all the crisis Pakistan is facing today”.