ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday sought legal assistance from the attorney general as it heard a petition asking for a probe into the Videogate controversy involving an accountability court judge.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, during the hearing, observed that the controversy ‘must be looked into’ as the meetings by the judge – Arshad Malik – are ‘unusual and extraordinary’ and added that the issue is of the judiciary’s integrity.
He also wondered why the judge had held meetings with people connected to individuals he had convicted. The petitioner’s counsel prayed upon the court to conduct a judicial inquiry in the matter.
“It would be better if a retired SC judge heads the inquiry commission,” said the counsel when asked who should lead the probe.
Justice Bandial identified three key issues that need to be taken into consideration: the sanctity of the institution, the correctness of the judgment and any misconduct by the judge under scrutiny.
He added that there is a competent court to decide on the correctness of judgment while laws exist for the initiation of misconduct proceeding against the judge if need be.
The justice, expressing concern regarding the sanctity of the institution, said the issue is very serious and the sanctity should be protected but can be taken up when the “dust has settled to avoid emotional reactions”. The hearing was then adjourned till July 23.
The three petitions—filed by Ishtiaq Mirza, Sohail Akhtar and Tariq Hassan advocate—requested the apex court to conduct a thorough investigation into the controversial video of judge Arshad Malik.
The petitions name Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Maryam Nawaz, Nawaz Sharif and former president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as respondents.
In addition, judge Malik, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the federal government have also been named as respondents.
The three-member bench is led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and includes Justice Azmat Sheikh and Justice Umar Ata Bandial. On Monday, Malik had requested the law ministry to provide him with ‘foolproof security’. Leaked video: IHC approaches law ministry for judge Arshad Malik’s removal
Malik requested the law ministry not to withdraw the current security detail assigned to him, citing life threats to his and his family members’ lives.
The SC on Monday had also issued directives detailing the security protocol for Tuesday’s hearing. The directives stated that entry in its premises should be regulated through special passes issued by security.
“Only the petitioners/respondents whose cases are fixed in court will be allowed to enter in Supreme Court premises,” it stated. The apex court, however, added that advocates and journalists who regularly come for the top court’s proceedings will be exempted from passes.
The directives also asked the general public, who want to witness the court proceedings, to contact SP (security) for security passes. “Entry into the court building will be allowed after frisking and searching of bags/purses etc,” the directive read.
On Malik’s claims that he was threatened and offered bribes, the law minister said there would be legal action against anyone who tried to intimidate or blackmail judges.