No one will be allowed to coerce the judiciary, says law minister.

ISLAMABAD -- Minister for Law Dr Farogh Nasim, addressing a press conference following judge Arshad Malik's removal by the Islamabad High Court on Friday, said that no one would be allowed sentence can be overturned unless the high court finds the verdict was issued under duress by the accountability judge.

"The law ministry has stopped Arshad sahab from working [as a judge] for now," he said adding that judge Malik has been directed to report to Lahore High Court, his parent department.

The press conference came a while before the Supreme Court of Pakistan admitted a petition, requesting a thorough probe of the leaked videos, for hearing. A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will hear the appeal on July 16.

In the affidavit, the judge has said that he issued the verdict without any pressure or intimidation," said Nasim, referring to the affidavit submitted by Malik to the IHC acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

Judge Malik, on Dec 4, 2018, had handed ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference. Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the former premier, has alleged that the judge was 'pressurised and blackmailed' to convict her father in the Al-Azizia reference and has released videos which she says back her claims.

"If we go by this affidavit, then it is clear that he [the judge] has issued the verdict without any pressure," said Nasim at Friday's press conference.

Judge Malik, in the affidavit, has alleged that he was offered a Rs500 million cash bribe by Nawaz's son, Hussain, "who demanded that the judge resign on the grounds that he could no longer deal with the guilt of having convicted Nawaz under duress" in the Al-Azizia reference.

Referring to those allegations, the law minister said: "According to National Accountability Ordinance Section 31 [prohibition to hamper investigation] and this country's law, if anyone tries to manipulate or bribe a judge, there is a separate punishment for that [...] 10 year-sentence for intimidating judiciary."

"The National Accountability Bureau cannot do anything regarding the sentence [in Al Azizia]; the IHC has to decide," clarified Nasim. "The sentence cannot immediately be suspended, cannot be extended or changed in any way until IHC takes a decision regarding whether the judgement was issued under pressure."

He further said that the verdict of the case in which Nawaz was convicted was not dependent on the judge Malik's...

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