Accountability court judge Arshad Malik has claimed that he was offered a Rs 500 million bribe by the son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, against resigning on the pretext that he could ‘no longer deal with the guilt of having convicted Nawaz Sharif under duress and without evidence’.“In return, he said that all I had to do was to formally resign on the ground that I could no longer deal with the guilt of having convicted Mian Nawaz Sharif under duress and without evidence,” the judge stated in a letter written Friday to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) chief justice. The judge claimed that Hussain Nawaz had also offered to relocate him along with his family to the United Kingdom, Canada or any other country of his choice if he accepted the offer. In the letter, the judge refuted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s claims and revealed other details related to the controversy. He denied the contents of the video and termed those edited, fabricated and aimed at defaming him.Narrating the details, the judge claimed that in early 2018, an acquaintance named Nasir Janjua, who was associated with the PML-N, ‘implored’ him to issue verdicts of acquittal in the Al-Azizia and Flagship references, saying that it was on his personal recommendation to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif that he (Malik) was appointed as judge in the accountability court. During the arguments stage of the trial, the judge said he was again approached by Janjua with a ‘financial offer’ from Nawaz of Rs 100 million but that he refused the offer. The offer was shortly followed by a ‘thinly veiled threat of physical harm and intimidation’ by Nasir Butt, the PML-N ‘sympathiser’ who recorded the video shared by Maryam Nawaz that started the controversy, the judge claimed. “The threat was delivered by Nasir Butt saying to me in an intimidating tone that he owed Mian Nawaz Sharif a lot, as he (Nawaz) had helped him avoid punishment for 4-5 murders committed by him (Butt) by using his immense political influence and, therefore, he (Butt) was willing to go to any extent to help [Nawaz] in the trials he was facing,” the judge claimed.The judge said once he convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference and acquitted him in the Flagship reference, Butt and Janjua allegedly started blackmailing him using a ‘secretly recorded manipulated immoral video [showing him] in a compromising position’ that was shot while he was serving in Multan. “Using the Multan video as a threat, Butt then forced me to accompany him to Jati Umra and tell Nawaz in person that I have convicted him under immense pressure from influential quarters,” he claimed. The meeting took place on April 6, but the judge said instead of saying what was demanded by Butt, he told Nawaz that he was convicted in the Al-Azizia reference based on merit. This angered Butt, who demanded that ‘to compensate for the debacle at the Jati Umra meeting’, judge Malik should assist him with the grounds of appeal that was to be filed against the Al-Azizia judgement. Giving in to the demand due to ‘blackmailing’, the judge said he ‘reluctantly reviewed’ the appeal draft and gave his observations. It was while he was giving these observations on the appeal that the video clip shown by Maryam at a press conference last week was recorded, the judge claimed. “I realised that the sitting in which I had commented upon the draft memorandum of appeal was secretly recorded as edited and manipulated excerpts of conversation from that meeting were part of the audio/video played at the PML-N press conference,” the judge said in his affidavit.Elaborating further, the judge stated that Nasir Butt contacted him repeatedly and urged him to accept the offer made by Hussain Nawaz earlier. “I declined the offer by Hussain Nawaz Sharif. I returned to Pakistan on June 8, 2019, after which Nasir Butt made repeated telephone calls to me urging me to reconsider the offer made by Hussain Nawaz whilst threatening me with consequences,” he claimed.