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Daily Briefs


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04 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.67

LHC removes Judge Arshad Malik, leaving a blot on the judiciary and a question over Sharif convictio



Removal of an accountability judge by the Lahore High Court, a high-level meeting chaired by Imran Khan that included three chiefs of Army, Navy and Airforce, and the DG-ISI, and the PPP being upbeat about winning the Gilgit-Baltistan elections

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
LHC removes Judge Arshad Malik, leaving a blot on the judiciary and a question over Sharif conviction

On 3 July, following a year-long inquiry into the highly controversial video scandal that commenced on 6 July 2019, the Lahore High Court's seven-judge committee headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan approved Judge Arshad Malik's 'removal from service' on charges of misconduct. The judges noted that the video scandal and removal of Judge Malik reflected widespread corruption and questioned the legitimacy of convictions. ("Judge Malik shown the door over misconduct," Dawn, 4 July 2020) ("Video scandal: Judge Arshad Malik fired," The News International, 4 July 2020)

The scandal broke out with PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz claiming during a press conference that Judge Malik admitted that he was forced to convict ex-PM Nawaz Sharif. ("Explosive claims by Maryam over Nawaz’s verdict,Dawn, 7 July 2019) Meanwhile, the Judge claimed that he acquitted former PM Nawaz Sharif after being blackmailed by PML-N. Later, on 22 August 2019, IHC suspended Judge Malik and repatriated him to LHC.

Judge Arshad Malik was part of an accountability court which acquitted former PM Nawaz Sharif in the Flagship reference and convicted the PM in the Al-Azizia reference case. Thus, the decision has been hailed by both the ruling PTI party, which called it the end of "PML-N era of blackmailing judges", and PML-N, who sought the acquittal of its leader. 

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Abid Saqi has said that convictions or trials conducted by Judge Malik would not sustain since biases have been proved. Although doubts over the conviction of the ex-PM are rife, the conviction will sustain unless IHC remands a fresh trial of the case. However, barristers believe the Judge's dismissal has led to PML-N's political vindication. ("Judge's sacking raises doubts over Nawaz's conviction," Dawn, 4 July 2020)

In an opinion article, Fahd Hussain said "Judge Arshad's judgement legitimized a certain narrative. His dismissal has inconvenienced it". Hussain says the Judge's fate has political and legal consequences for Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan. Judge Malik's verdict was key in Nawaz's downfall and Imran's victory. Now, his dismissal puts PTI's legitimacy at stake. The ruling coalition's underwhelming performance is making things worse. Hussain says the dream PTI made Pakistan see is disappearing due to PTI's lack of "legitimacy and potency of action". ("Weight of a dream," Dawn, 4 July 2020)

Meanwhile, a NAB official has said that "just like Justice Qazi Faez Isa's case, there isn't much to celebrate for the PML-N." ("Is there much to celebrate for PML-N?," The Express Tribune,4 July 2020)


In Brief

INTERNAL
Imran chairs a high-level meeting with Defence Minister, three Chiefs and DG-ISIS
On 3 July, a high-level meeting was held where the country's top civilian and military leadership reviewed the internal and external security situation of the country where it determined that although Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence with its neighbours the nation has both the will and the capacity to defend territorial integrity. The meeting was chaired by PM Imran Khan and was attended by the Defence Minister, three Chiefs and DG-ISIS. The meeting also focused on the recent clashes between China and India and the security challenges faced by Pakistan. Further, the meeting is also said to have raised concern over the continued human rights violation in the Jammu and Kashmir and urged the international community to take notice of this issue. (Mumtaz Alvi, "Pak sovereignty to be protected at all costs," The News International, 4 July 2020)

GILGIT-BALTISTAN
FO states that India has no locus standi comment elections in GB
The Foreign Office (FO) rejected remarks made but the Minister of External Affair in India concerning the elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, stating that it had no locus standi to comment. Further, the FO stated, "The Indian government, which has been holding fraudulent elections in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) under the barrel of Indian occupation forces, and has turned the occupied region into the world's largest open prison, has no locus standi to comment on elections in Gilgit-Baltistan." Further, the FO reiterated that parts of Jammu and Kashmir remain in illegal Indian occupation and stated: "the only resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is faithful implementation of the relevant UNSC resolutions that recognize the inalienable right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices." (APP, "India has no locus standi to comment on Gilgit-Baltistan polls, says FODawn, 4 July 2020)

PPP confident of winning the upcoming elections in GB
Pakistan People's Party Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman said, "Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will lead the upcoming general elections campaign" in Gilgit Baltistan. She criticized the inability of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in providing proper health facilities. (Shafqat Ali, "PPP expects better performance in Gilgit Baltistan polls," The Nation, 04 July 2020)

CPEC 
Imran Khan promises to complete CPEC 
On 3 July, PM Imran Khan promised,' the government would complete China Pakistan Economic Corridor at any cost and pass its benefit to the nation'. The project operationalized in 2016, originally valued $46 billion by 2017 became worth $62billion. It is a vast infrastructure project to strengthen the Pakistan economy. ("CPEC to be completed at all costs, say Imran," Dawn, 04 July 2020)

EXTERNAL
FM Qureshi and Chinese counterpart discuss India, Afghanistan and other bilateral issues
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a telephonic conversation on 3 July where both sides discussed bilateral, regional and international issues. Pakistan expressed concerns to Beijing over the regional security situation underlining that India's belligerent posture and expansionist policies were imperilling peace in the region. Further, the two ministers reiterated their support for each other, with Pakistan stating its commitment to the 'One-China policy' and firmly extended supported to China on its core interests including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang. Both sides also reaffirmed their decision to support each other at the multilateral institutions. Further, they expressed their determination to promote peace and development in Afghanistan as well as addressed measure to combat COVID-19. (Mariana Baabar, "Pakistan, China agree India threatening peace in region," The News International, 4 July 2020)

UAE resume airline service and Malaysia suspends Pakistan pilots
United Arab Emirates airline resumed its passenger services to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Sialkot. The spokesperson said passengers are required to carry COVID-19 PCR test result from the list of specified laboratories. On 2 July, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) temporarily suspends pilots, who hold Pakistani licences. This came after the revelation of 'dubious qualifications. The CAAM also said "licence holder that are verified will be reinstated immediately" (Mohammad Asghar, "Emirates resumes service to four cities," Dawn, 04 July 2020)

ON INDIA
"Prime Minister Modi has laid a trap for the emergence of India as a new global power": Opinion

An opinion in the Dawn titled "Modi's Trap" looks into the recent skirmish between India and China and the response that it has stirred up. The opinion states that although many view this recent development as a victory for China over India, the truth of the matter is that PM Modi has laid a trap for the emergence of India as a new global power. The opinion then looks into reasons why PM Modi took in China, stating that the decision was based the Indian PM limited but high-profile conflict strategy on the assumption China will not escalate any conflict in the region due to economic and other issues such as the accusation on COVID-19, Hong Kong and other. The opinion then states that the climax of this conflict would demonstrate that India could not only stand against a global giant but also reasonably resolve complex democratic conflicts. The opinion concludes but stating that a trap has been set by PM Modi and that now, one will have to wait to observe the Chinese response, which is generally long term and routed through its allies. (Muhammad J. Siddiqui, "Modi's trap," Dawn, 4 July 2020)

India and it's two-front wars' 
According to an editorial in the Nation, India had opened its 'two-front war' to appease the west. Prime Minister Modi's move on 'Union Territory and Kashmir map' had brought its two fronts under one. The editorial also pointed out, "How will India teach China a lesson when it is dependent economically and technologically on China" and summed by saying the prevailing conflict in no sense is 'two-front war' as it starts from India east through Himalayas and Karakoram to west in Gwadar and Suntser. (Samson Simon Sharaf, "India's two-front enigma," The Nation, 04 July 2020)

 


"The LHC Administrative Committee’s decision of sacking Arshad Malik establishes that Nawaz Sharif was unjustly sentenced. His innocence stands proven today. As a natural corollary, Mian sb’s sentence ought to be declared null & void...I am thankful to God Almighty for vindicating PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif by proving his innocence. This decision by the High Court Administration Committee is clear evidence that Nawaz Sharif isn’t guilty."

-  Shabaz Sharif on the Lahore High Court's decision to remove Justice Arshad Malik (Dawn)

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