As real estate tycoon Malik Riaz prepare to fire a salvo against Dr Arsalan Chaudhry in court, famed British journalist Christina Lamb on Sunday denied having been contacted for a planned ‘exposé’ on ‘Familygate’ – a case involving charges of financial misconduct against the son of Pakistan’s top judge.
Zahid Bokhari, the attorney for Bahria Town’s former chief Malik Riaz, told Daily Express that medics had advised his client complete bed rest in the United Kingdom due to a urine infection. However, he (Riaz) has decided to fly back home immediately to appear before the apex court, according to Bokhari.
“My client will record his statement before the apex court in the next couple of days,” he said.
Riaz’s lawyer also claimed that his client would bring along evidence showing payments made to Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Dr Arsalan is rumoured to have received between Rs300 and Rs400 million from Riaz to influence court cases against the influential real estate magnate.
However, Justice Chaudhry’s son denied in a concise statement submitted before the apex court on Saturday the charges of financial misconduct against him.
Media reports had claimed that Riaz had sought British journalist Christina Lamb’s help to break the news about the scandal, when Justice Chaudhry was scheduled to arrive in London to receive the International Jurists Award for 2012.
However, Christina Lamb, Sunday Times bureau chief in Washington, tweeted on the micro-blogging website Twitter that she had not been contacted by anyone regarding the case and termed the reports ‘made up’.
The timing of the revelations was being deliberately planned, according to sources, so as to damage the growing recognition Justice Chaudhry enjoys in the international community.
It might have even led to his resignation, if the plan was to achieve its goal, alleged the reports. However, Lamb dismissed the rumours:
“Any purported quotes from me on the CJ issue are made up, all I know is what I’ve read in the media and have spoken to no one!. (I) have no idea how this started but can I clarify I am not planning a big exposé on Familygate, (and) have spoken to no one about it,” Lamb tweeted.
(with additional output from news desk)
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2012.