New Delhi: An audio clip has emerged in Pakistani media that has people questioning their faith in the judiciary and former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar. People are debating if mysterious “institutions” did indeed dictate that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, be sent to jail months before the 2018 elections that brought Imran Khan to power. The incriminating evidence has dealt another blow to PM Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Ahmad Noorani, a reporter with Fact Focus, broke the story with the headline: “Saqib Nisar CJ ordered Nawaz jailed as ‘institutions’ wanted Imran in power”.
The then Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered to send Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to jail as “institutions” (army & ISI) wanted to bring Imran Khan to power – Saqib Nisar’s forensically examined audio shows.
— Ahmad Noorani (@Ahmad_Noorani) November 21, 2021
The audio, which has been made public by Noorani, had recordings of Nisar purportedly passing instructions to put former PM Sharif and his daughter in jail to a judge. The clip was first accessed by Fact Focus — a portal for factual, data-driven investigative stories to empower Pakistani citizens — two months ago and was sent for examination of authenticity.
The audio was forensically examined by Garrett Discovery, a leading American firm specialising in multimedia forensics. The Fact Focus report said that the firm’s analysis certified the integrity of the audio file and stated that “this audio has not been edited in any way”.
‘We will have to penalise @NawazSharifMNS @MaryamNSharif regardless of the merit’ – audio of former Chief Justice saqib Nisar leaked by @FactFocusFF @Ahmad_Noorani in a huge new scandal. Shocking and unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/E9iECjcPXY
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) November 21, 2021
Former chief justice Nisar, speaking to Geo News on Sunday, denied the allegations, saying the audio was fabricated. When contacted by Fact Focus, he said that he had never contacted any judge of accountability court to order him to pass any verdict against Nawaz Sharif or his daughter. “Why I would do that. I have no grudges against Mian Nawaz Sharif”, he said. He added that no one from the Pakistan Army or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) ever contacted him or pressured him on this count.
Met Saqib Nisar Sahib few moments ago.
He denied any association with the audio.
According to him, this audio is "fabricated." https://t.co/bpJBTLSeb7
— Waseem Badami (@WaseemBadami) November 21, 2021
According to Fact Focus, the conversation, after translation, reads:
Nisar: “Let me be a little blunt about it; unfortunately, here it is the ‘institutions’ who dictate judgments. In this case, we will have to penalize Mian Sahib. And ‘they’ say we shall bring Khan Sahib. Regardless of the merit, we will have to do it, and even to his daughter”.
To which, the other person responds, “But, in my view, his daughter doesn’t merit a sentence”.
Nisar then adds, “You are absolutely correct. I did talk to ‘friends’ that something be done about this but they did not agree. There will be no independence of the judiciary, so let it be…”
Demand for judicial inquiry
The news led to the trending of #SaqibNisarExposed on Pakistani Twitter.
Pakistan’s former minister for Interior & Planning and Secretary-General of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Ahsan Iqbal, said that Nisar had to “explain his position” after the clip exposed an “open secret in Islamabad”.
This is serious stuff. Former CJ Saqib Nisar has to explain his position. These tapes provide evidence to what was an open secret in Islamabad. https://t.co/hPNrkRxDwe
— Ahsan Iqbal (@betterpakistan) November 21, 2021
Tahir Bhatti, who claims to be the Vice President of PML-N’s Social Media Wing, called for a “treason case” to be registered against Nisar. Researcher and columnist Mian Mujeeb UR Rehman, similarly called for “dreadful punishment”.
Salary and benefits should be withdrawn from Saqib Nisar and treason case should be registered.
This man conspired against the elected government of the country.
He should be jailed for lying and fraudulently removing the country's prime minister from office.
— 🐅محمد طاہر بھٹی (@Tahir_BhattiPML) November 15, 2021
Now is the time to bring Saqib Nisar and all these conspiratorial elements to justice and prosecute them and give them a dreadful punishment so that in future no one will be able to give a verdict contrary to the constitution and law. 🇵🇰#SaqibNisarExposed pic.twitter.com/qAD340BXt5
— Mian Mujeeb UR Rehman (@Mujeebtalks) November 15, 2021
Journalist and anchor Hamid Mir took to Twitter saying that “the current Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad must initiate a judicial inquiry in this case”, while columnist and anchor Saleem Safi mockingly wrote, “The judiciary is completely independent”.
Journalist @Ahmad_Noorani released the audio of former Chief Justice after a lab test. Former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar claimed that this audio is fabricated. Now the current Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad must initiate a judicial inquiry in this case. https://t.co/39BJ35WzAF
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) November 21, 2021
عدلیہ بالکل آزاد ہے۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ https://t.co/WLjF6pQVru
— Saleem Safi (@SaleemKhanSafi) November 21, 2021
Nisar’s open support of Imran Khan
The revelation also had Pakistani media pointing out how Nisar was open about his support for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Twitter user Mubeen Memon posted a video of Nisar presenting Imran Khan an “honorary shield”.
— MubeenMemon (@MMubeenMemon) November 15, 2021
Another Geo TV journalist Murtaza Ali Shah shared an old clip of former Samaa TV journalist Syed Kousar Kazmi asking Nisar “how he would respond to people who are slamming him for openly siding with a political party despite being the country’s chief justice”.
During December 2018 UK visit, Saqib Nisar & family were hosted/sponsored by PTI leader Aneel Musarrat & Saqib Nisar attended PTI’s political events in 3 cities.
Journalist @SyedKousarKazmi asked CJP why he openly sided with a political party. ‘Don’t u have faith in your CJP?!’ pic.twitter.com/aXOwCaNQvu
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) November 22, 2021
Fact focus claims that a forensic report states the audio isn't tampered with. It doesn't say anything about whether it is the former CJ himself.
— Shoaib Taimur (@shobz) November 21, 2021
In fact, many took the speculation further, asking why Nisar was seen accepting flowers from a “multi billionaire property investor” and where he sourced the “2.5 crore” spent on his “daughter weedings [sic]”.
A multibillionaire property investor, with lots of litigations in different courts, is presenting flowers to a serving Chief Justice namely, Saqib Nisar.
What else he gave him, is not visible in the picture! #ثاقب_نثار_آرٹیکل_6_کا_حقدار pic.twitter.com/u7DWHkRVas
— Ali Khan (@AliKhan31442737) November 16, 2021
Saqib Nisar spent 2.5 crore on his daughter weedings. From where this money came?
— Ahmad Hassan (@AhmadHasanPK) November 21, 2021
The clip and Fact Focus report was released after an explosive report by Pakistani journalist Ansar Abbasi earlier this month, where he alleged that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were deliberately put in jail to help PTI’s Imran Khan win the election in 2018.