The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz’s request that he be exempted from attending the hearings of a contempt case against him.
Riaz’s counsel Dr Abdul Basit maintained that his client could not appear in court hearings due to persisting health conditions and requested that the bench, headed by Justice Shakirullah Jan, allow him to leave the country for treatment.
Basit added that Riaz’s treatment had been interrupted when he had to rush back to Pakistan after the court summoned him.
The petitioner, Arshad Gujjar, who had filed an application to place Riaz on the Exit Control List (ECL), argued that allowing the real-estate tycoon to leave the country will increase chances of him not returning to Pakistan.
Countering Gujjar’s assertions, Basit told the court his client had attended court proceedings regularly out of respect for the judiciary.
The bench observed that Riaz’s name had not been placed on the ECL in light of his conduct but declined Basit’s request, directing the former to appear before the court in all hearings of the case.
The court also 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. Basit claimed he had no transcript of the press conference and could not prepare for the case as such.
The bench replied that an Urdu transcript of the press conference had been read in the court before the contempt process was initiated.
As Basit sought more time to prepare the case, the petitioner objected saying Riaz’s counsel was resorting to delaying tactics instead of answering questions about the conference.
Observing that sufficient time had already been provided to the accused, the bench adjourned proceedings till July 4.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.
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