The Supreme Court announced it would indict real estate tycoon Malik Riaz on July 16 while hearing the contempt case against him on Friday.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Shakirullah Jan, rejected Riaz’s plea seeking exemption from court appearance and ruled that he is bound to appear in the hearings until the court directs him not to. Justice Jan directed Riaz’s counsel, Dr Abdul Basit, to submit an application to the court explaining the kind of exemption his client seeks.
Dr Basit informed the court that his client had come to Pakistan for the last hearing while his medical treatment was underway. He further said the nature of Riaz’s ailment ‘could not be revealed in the court’. The court said that it would continue hearing the case and issued a notice to Attorney General Irfan Qadir, who has been named as a prosecutor in the case.
Riaz had tendered an unconditional apology for his press conference in which he had hurled serious allegations against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar. In his apology, he maintained his press conference had given the court an impression that he was targeting the chief justice and his family. Riaz’s counsel refused to avail any benefit from the newly-introduced Contempt of Court Act 2012.
The court observed that the procedure will be adopted under the new contempt act and the punishment will be given under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.
NAB summons Malik Riaz
Meanwhile, hours after Dr Arslan Iftikhar questioned the competence of institutions investigating allegations of financial impropriety against him on Friday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) summoned Malik Riaz to record his statement.
The decision was taken by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), constituted by NAB Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari to investigate the financial impropriety case, read a statement issued by the bureau.
“The JIT has decided to summon Malik Riaz Hussain for personal appearance and recording of statement. JIT will interview Riaz on his allegations,” the statement said.
It further said that the JIT has obtained relevant record from various agencies on the Dr Arsalan case and more evidence is expected in the next two days.
(ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ZAHID GISHKORI IN ISLAMABAD)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.