The Supreme Court on Thursday granted real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz seven days to find a lawyer to represent himself while hearing a contempt of court case.
The court also directed the bar associations of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to not restrict anyone from taking up the case.
The court took notice of the June 12 news conference during which Riaz hurled serious allegations against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his son Arsalan Iftikhar.
“Whichever lawyer I contact refuses to cooperate with me,” Riaz told the court. “Raymond Davis could hire a lawyer but I cannot.”
“The worst of men are able to find a lawyer to represent them,” responded Justice Gulzar. “Why are you unable to find one?”
Riaz said that with the media and bar associations against him, no one was willing to take on his case.
Justice Shakirullah Jan, however, directed the bar associations of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to avoid putting restrictions on any lawyers in this regard, which he said would be tantamount to obstruction of justice.
Justice Jan said that if Riaz failed to hire a lawyer the court would provide him one on state expenses, as was done in Ajmal Kasab’s case across the border.
Riaz tried to explain why he had called a news conference but did not share any details. He also told the court that Arsalan Iftikhar was issuing statements against him.
The court, however, told him to focus on this particular case.
“I have great respect for the court, I cannot sit for a long time because I have urinary problems and yet I attended the proceedings,” Riaz told the court. The hearing was adjourned till June 28.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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