Money launderers using Sicilian Mafia tactics to pressurise judiciary: PM

Pakistani mafia using Sicilian Mafia tactics to pressurise state institutions

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Staff Report

Islamabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday likening Pakistani money laundering suspects to the Sicilian Mafia said just like Sicilian mafia, the Pakistani mafia also used the multiple tactics to pressurize the state institutions and the judiciary to protect their billions of rupees laundered and stashed abroad.

In a statement on the microblogging website twitter, the prime minister shared a four-year-old media report on the testimony of former Italian president Giorgio Napolitano in a case of bombings and violence in Italy involving mafia to coerce the government in 1990.

The premier’s statement comes a day after law ministry relieved an accountability court judge Arshad Malik of his duties after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) requested his removal over his alleged involvement in a controversial video scandal.

The law minister later clarified that the sentence handed down by the judge in the Al-Azizia reference would not be overturned unless the IHC decided that the verdict was delivered under duress.

On July 6, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz had opened a Pandora’s box with a startling claim that judge Malik had “confessed” that he had been “pressurised and blackmailed” to convict her father in the Al-Azizia reference. A video containing the judge’s alleged confession during his conversation with a ‘sympathiser’ of the PML-N, Nasir Butt, was screened at a presser. The next day, the judge had denied the allegation and being under any pressure, but admitted that Butt was an acquaintance.

On Friday, the accountability judge claimed in an affidavit that he was offered a Rs500 million cash bribe by the son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, 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/Hill Metal Establishment reference in December 2018.

On Saturday, Maryam Nawaz reacting to the PM’s tweet said “You’re a part of the mafia that pressurises judges into targeting & punishing your political opponents. It is you who used the institutions to settle scores with your opponents & defaced & maligned them in the process. Shame on you.”

In a second tweet in Urdu, she alleged that the prime minister was “part of the heinous conspiracy that was staged to punish Nawaz Sharif and keep him out of the field”.

She further alleged that judge Malik had exposed the premier through his alleged confession.

“Don’t hide behind your elders now,” the PML-N leader told the prime minister.