ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday asked former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar to disclose to the nation who it was who “pressured” him and who could he not refuse when it comes to the sentence handed to her and her father former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield apartments case.
Maryam held a detailed press conference regarding a recent controversy triggered by the recently surfaced audio clip that allegedly contains the voice of Nisar.
The audio clip features a man who is telling another person that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz “would have to be punished to make space for Imran Khan in politics.”
Nisar, however, had denied the authenticity of the audio clip, terming it “fabricated”.
During a press conference today, Maryam, addressing the former CJP, said: “Whether today, or tomorrow, you will have to tell the nation the truth. There is still time. Come forth, tell the nation who pressured you to sentence Nawaz Sharif if it was unwarranted? Who pressured you to sentence Maryam Nawaz, if it was without merit. And who told you that Imran Khan needs to be brought to power?”
“Who was it that you could not refuse, despite being the chief justice of Pakistan at the time?” she continued.
“Why were you forced to take an illegal, unconstitutional step?” she asked.
“You will have to answer all this.”
Maryam called upon the courts to check the veracity of the allegations against Nisar of influencing the judicial proceedings in the case, by summoning the parties involved.
The PML-N leader asked whether the bombshell allegations made by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, too, who said “he was asked not to grant bail” to her and to her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, are also false then.
Maryam said that the parties involved in the Justice Siddiqui scandal be summoned in court, made to stand in the witness box and give a sworn testimony.
She said that audio clips and videos may be material that one can be skeptical about “but Justice Siddiqui is very much alive and he must be inquired about his allegations”.
Similarly, ex chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Mohammad Shamim, whose sworn affidavit claims that Nisar influenced proceedings to prolong Maryam’s and Nawaz’s imprisonment, must be called upon and questioned, she said.
“He said he is ready to appear at any forum and testify to the veracity of the statement he gave,” Maryam added.
Referring to the media coverage regarding the leak, she said that she will not name the outlet, but one media outlet “assumed the responsibility” for analysing the clip themselves.
She said that first Nisar denied any connection with the clip and said that it is not him who can be heard in the audio. Then, after the TV channel said that his audio from various occasions had been spliced together to create the clip, “he too stepped forth to agree”.
So the TV channel that led to his “admission” of his voice being part of the clip deserves some “thanks”, she said.
Maryam said that as soon as The News journalist, Ahmed Noorani outted the clip, “propaganda” regarding the clip began.
“This was despite a very renowned American company doing the forensic analysis of the clip. They have clearly stated that the clip has not been edited in any way.
“But a campaign began to prove the clip false.”
She said the TV channel even ran footage showing where he had spoken the same bits that can be heard in the controversial clip.
Maryam said that those bits, however, may just be “catch phrases”, also citing the example of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is known for often saying in his speeches “ghabrana naheen hai (you must not panic)”.
The PML-N leader, addressing the TV channel directly, questioned their omission of the bits from the audio clip that are the “real crux of the matter”, that are the “charge sheet against Saqib Nisar” and demanded to know which speech those bits are from then.
“So the bits that you like are his voice and the parts that you do not, are not his voice?” she asked.
Maryam said that the people are waiting and that they demand to know “when it was that he showed such bravery during his tenure, when he admitted to doing such a thing”.
Counting the statements given by Justice Siddiqui, Arshad Malik, Bashir Memon, Rana Mohammad Shamim, “and now the audio”, she said it marks the “fifth testimony to have surfaced in Nawaz’s and PML-N’s favour”.
“Will the nation be able to forget so soon the incidents that have unfolded over the last five years?” she asked, adding: “The biggest charge sheet, the biggest proof are these events, which no one can deny.”
“Can anyone deny that the prime minister, who was elected by the people, Nawaz Sharif, was removed from his post under a conspiracy? Is a forensic analysis needed for this?”
“Can you deny that Imran Khan was told to bring a petition against Nawaz Sharif and that they will decide the matter?”
“Can you deny this, that Panama Papers named 450 people and nothing was said regarding them, but the one person whose name did not appear in the leaks was sentenced — his name is Mohamamd Nawaz Sharif. Is a forensic audit required for this too?”
“And then you cried Panama, Panama, Panama, but for merely not taking a salary from his son, a sitting prime minister, an elected prime minister was removed — for holding an iqama? Can you deny this? And you bring forth the Black’s Law Dictionary? This decision, does it need a forensic audit?”
Maryam also questioned the appointment of a monitoring judge in National Accountability Bureau references in which Nawaz Sharif and she are named, calling it unprecedented in Pakistan’s 74-year history.
She asked whether a forensic audit is required for the fact that “without any proof” which the Islamabad High Court keeps asking NAB for, she was declared disqualified to hold office for seven years.
Maryam said that these events that are now unfolding “will not stop”.
“When you commit a sin, when you operate under a conspiracy, you are drunk with power and you are unaware of the evidence you leave behind. That proof had to come to the fore.
“Neither did Nawaz Sharif have a hand in this, nor did I play a role or my party. This was but natural and it had to take place.”
She said God works in mysterious ways and it was “only a matter of time” and “now they do not know where to hide”.
The PML-N leader said that it is “amusing” that Nisar is “silent” on the matter, but the ministers are “busy defending him”.
She went on to say that the prime minister “called no meeting on inflation even as prices continued to fluctuate in the morning, afternoon and evening”.
“I have heard that there is talk of raising the price of the gas by 175%, gas that people do not even have,” she added.
Maryam said as soon as the audio surfaced though, a meeting of representatives and ministers was called and they were told to “remind the people of the PML-N era”.
“If you will take people down memory lane to our tenure, they will recall a 5.8% growth,” she remarked.
They will recall motorways, roads, the metro bus, the orange line and lower prices of essential goods.
“You do not need to remind the people. The people themselves are recalling PML-N’s time,” she said.
She said someone should have told the ministers that their act of stepping up and “vociferously defending Nisar” will go against him.
“The conspiracy in which Saqib Nisar became a pawn had one beneficiary: Imran Khan,” Maryam said, adding: “And it is this conspiracy under which the incumbent government came into power in 2018.”
“It is not Saqib Nisar that the ministers are saving, it is themselves,” she said.
“They know that when Saqib Nisar will be exposed, they will be exposed,” she continued.
She requested Nisar to “do your own defense” as these ministers are “only spoiling your case”.
Maryam added that Nisar’s affidavit should have come in response to the ex-chief judge of GB’s affidavit. “Now that the audio has come with the forensic report, you should present yourself for a forensic audit,” she said.
She said that if it proves false, then he should challenge the courts “and use the money won to further his cause for dams in Pakistan”.
The PML-N leader also called upon the judiciary to “disassociate themselves” with the incident, maintaining that she has “great respect” for the institution.
Maryam said that the “proof” that she has are being “reviewed by a team of lawyers”.
“This is not just our case, it is the entire nation’s case because under this conspiracy, the person who was brought into power has ruined the lives of 220 million people,” she said.