The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday had a face-off over the explosive audio clip of the former chief justice of Pakistan allegedly conveying instructions to someone that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz must be convicted in the corruption references.
On the recently released audio clip of former CJP Saqib Nisar, sources said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has conveyed to his party leaders that they should apprise the people about the PML-N’s past, especially how they had allegedly attacked judiciary and influenced judges to get decisions in their favour in the past. The premier was quoted as saying that the government respects the institutions and stands by them.
On the other hand, PML-N President and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that the former top judge’s audio leak shows how former PM Sharif and his daughter were “targeted” through a grand scheme to keep them out of the political process, adding that justice should now be done.
“The emergence of a new audio clip of the former chief justice shows how Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were targeted as part of a grand scheme to keep them out of the political process,” the PML-N president said. “Time has come to right the wrongs inflicted on them as the nation looks forward to the justice system.”
On Sunday night, journalist Ahmed Noorani shared the audio clip claiming that the former CJP had directed his subordinates to send Sharifs to jail “as institutions wanted to bring Imran Khan into power”. Since then, the traditional and social media spaces remained awash with debate over the audio clip.
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The journalist said that a US-based firm has verified that the voice in the leaked audio clip matched with the retired CJP’s. However, the former top judge of the country has declared it “fabricated”.
Commenting on the development, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that leaks and videos start emerging as soon as the hearing of cases against Sharif and Maryam starts in courts. “The nation is still awaiting the ‘receipts’ that the Sharif family had promised to give in their defence when the Panama Papers scandal had emerged.”
As the audio clip mentions the name of the incumbent premier, the information minister said that Sharif family did not give a single piece of evidence in their favour but PM Imran presented 40-year-old receipts pertaining to his properties in London.
Adviser to the PM on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar also came forward to comment on the controversy, saying “the whole drama” was about hearing of Maryam’s appeal in the Islamabad High Court.
In a message on the social networking site Twitter, the PM’s aide said that everything would have been normal had the court not heard the appeals and the cases were adjourned as per the wishes of the offender.
From day one, he alleged, the Sharif family has been using delaying tactics and did not want real facts of the case to be discussed, adding that the funded agenda to make the constitutional institutions controversial was quite an old tactic of the PML-N.
The audio clip has emerged days after the emergence of an affidavit submitted by the former top judge of the Gilgit Appellate Court, accusing Justice (retd) Nisar of “keeping” former PM Sharif and his daughter in prison till the 2018 general elections.
Justice (retd) Nisar had refuted Shamim’s allegations, saying they were “contrary to fact”.