Punjab CM’s aide Firdous Ashiq Awan has urged the Supreme Court to take notice of Maryam Nawaz’s allegations against former apex court judge Azmat Saeed.
“Finger was pointed at an honourable judge, an institution and the Supreme Court,” Awan told SAMAA TV’s Nadeem Malik Wednesday. “The Supreme Court has to take a step to safeguard its sanctity and dignity in front of the nation.”
Her remarks came hours after Maryam accused Justice (retired) Saeed of being a part of the conspiracy to remove former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from his office.
Awan described Maryam’s statement as a move to “pressure” and “blackmail” Justice (retired) Saeed.
“Who doesn’t know Justice [retired] Azmat Saeed sahib" Maryam asked, while speaking to reporters in Lahore. “He personally influenced the formation of the JIT, he made WhatsApp calls.”
She was referring to the Joint Investigation Team which was formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the Panama Leaks case in 2017. Justice (retired) Saeed was one of the "founders of the JIT" and a “very big part” of the conspiracy against her father, the PML-N leader said.
Justice (retired) Saeed was one of the members of the bench that disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
He has been appointed the head of the Broadsheet inquiry commission by the government. But Maryam wants him to distance himself from the commission.
She warned that she would put facts [against Justice (retired) Saeed] in front of the nation, if he didn’t recuse himself from the Broadsheet commission.
‘Conflict of interest’
Justice (retired) Shaiq Usmani, the former chief justice of the Sindh High Court, told SAMAA TV that Justice (retired) Saeed was “one of the better judges” of the Supreme Court.
“Justice Azmat Saeed sahib was a very honourable judge when he was the Supreme Court judge,” he said. Usmani, however, said if him being the head of the Broadsheet commission was a matter of conflict of interest then he should recuse himself.
“If it’s a matter of conflict of interest then in this case he should recuse himself,” the former SHC chief justice said. Justice (retired) Saeed will himself have to think about what role he had in the Broadsheet deal.
Justice (retired) Saeed had been working as the deputy prosecutor general of NAB when the anti-corruption watchdog signed an agreement with Broadsheet LLC.
UK-based firm Broadsheet LLC was hired in 2000 by General Pervez Musharraf’s government to recover assets stolen by the past Pakistani governments.
The contract expired in 2003 and the firm alleged it was not paid. It sued Pakistan in the London Court of International Arbitration in 2016 and won an award of $21 million in 2019.
Islamabad appealed the decision in the London High Court and the award was increased to $33 million. UK authorities recently seized $28.7 million from the Pakistan High Commission’s account and the rest remains payable.