The Pakistani army’s role in bringing Imran Khan to power has been exposed with a leaked video clip that has surfaced in which the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, is heard issuing instructions to the judiciary to convict Khan’s arch rival former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif, in order to bar them from contesting the elections.
Nisar indicates that he was issuing the instructions as the Generals want to bring Imran Khan to power. The revelation has come as a bombshell and is bound to add to the political turmoil in Pakistan in the days ahead.
According to the transcript of the leaked audio clip, released by the UK-based investigative news website FactFocus.com, the conversation took place between the then Chief Justice of Pakistan SC and one unidentified person in 2018 before the general elections of Pakistan.
“Let me be a little blunt about it. Unfortunately, here, it is the institutions (Army) that dictate judgements. In this case, we will have to punish Mian Sahab (Nawaz Sharif). I have been told “we have to bring Khan Sahab (Imran Khan) into power.”
Former Chief Justice Sadiq Nisar allegedly goes on to add, “Punishment will have to be given.”
When the man on the other end of the line says that Nawaz’s daughter Maryam Nawaz “doesn’t merit a sentence”, Nisar purportedly tells him: “You are absolutely correct. I talked to my friends that something should be done about this but they did not agree. The independence of the judiciary will not remain. So, let it be,” Sadiq Nazar said.
Though Sadiq Nisar called the audio clip “fabricated” and “malicious”, FactFocus.com claimed that it had it examined by a leading American firm specializing in multimedia forensics and found the recording to be genuine.
The same news website had released a report about the corruption of Lt General Aseem Bajwa, a close confidant of Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the then chairman of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) last year and finally Aseem Bajwa had to resign.
The fresh revelation over the Supreme Court judge’s instructions has given a shot in the arm to the exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and the vice president of his PML-N party.
In a statement, Shabaz Sharif the PML-N leader and younger brother of Nawaz Sharif said a conspiracy was hatched to force Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to stay away from participating in political activities. The time has come to get rid of the incumbent government, he added.
In a posting on Twitter, Maryam Nawaz said: “Allah is the greatest. After the confessional audio clip of Saqib Nisar, the punishment of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz has come to an end by all standards of justice. A case of treason against the Constitution and law should be registered. This is a test of justice”.
Former Chief Justice Sadiq Nisar has been in the news since last week when Rana Shamim, a former top judge of Gilgit-Baltistan had in a written affidavit stated that he had witnessed Nisar giving instructions to a high court judge to not release Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif in the corruption references against them.
Shamim said that Nisar told the high court judge that Nawaz and Maryam must remain in jail until the elections are over, reported Pakistani daily The News.
In 2017, it was Sadiq Nisar who was the Chief Justice of Pakistan when the SC disqualified the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in the Panama Papers case and asked the relevant agencies to file the case against Sharif and his daughter and other family members. Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law were sentenced to jail.
Last year, Nawaz Sharif was granted bail to seek medical treatment abroad and has been in London ever since. Sharif has often blamed Pakistani army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI and judges for what he claims are trumped up charges against him to make Imran Khan the prime minister.
According to Tariq Butt, a Pakistani journalist with The News, “One thing common in leaked audio clips of Saqib Nisar, Rana Shamim’s affidavit implicating Saqib Nisar, is that verdicts against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam were grossly manipulated to bring Imran Khan in power after ousting Nawaz. The Pakistani Judiciary is facing a serious trial”.