Conflict of interest: Amidst objections, CJ opens case against son

Published: June 7, 2012
Email
Arsalan Iftikhar leaves the court after his hearing on the Malik Riaz case. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

Arsalan Iftikhar leaves the court after his hearing on the Malik Riaz case. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

For the first time in the country’s judicial history, a son was summoned to the apex court by his father to probe a scandal that threatened the latter’s integrity.  While several quarters raised their eyebrows citing conflict of interest, scores of people thronged the Supreme Court Wednesday morning to witness the historic proceedings.

Dr Arsalan Iftikhar stood before a three-judge bench headed by his father, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the proceedings began.

The chief justice, aware of the dilemma, promised that if found guilty, his son will be convicted in the case.

Following media reports that Arsalan had received between Rs300 and Rs400 million from a real estate tycoon to influence judicial proceedings, the court had summoned him and Bahria Town’s chief Malik Riaz late Tuesday night.

Malik Riaz, however, did not appear before the court on Wednesday and a personal staff officer informed the court that he was in the United Kingdom, undergoing medical treatment.

Conflict of interest

Attorney general Irfan Qadir objected to the bench, saying it was “against the code of conduct” for the chief justice to hear this case. Justice Jawwad S Khwaja replied that the chief justice’s son was not above the law and could be tried in court “by the man who had most respect for this institution.”

Qadir, however, said that Justice Khwaja was being “very emotional” and should not hear the case either.

“Though [Arsalan] is my son, he will be dealt in accordance with the law if found guilty,” the chief justice said. “We can’t give concession to any party over the institution; and for the sake of its prestige, we can go to any extent,” he added.

The chief justice also said that the guilty will be convicted in this case.

In response to this, the attorney general said that not only must justice be done, “it must also be seen to be done.”

“Insha’allah, you will see it in this case,” the chief justice replied.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, the third member of the bench, said they would not spare anyone who would defame the judiciary.

The chief justice, however, recorded the attorney general’s objection and said that an “appropriate order” will be passed on Thursday.

Malik Riaz and son

In the absence of Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz, Arsalan’s lawyer Sardar Ishaq sought some time from the court. The chief justice, however, refused, saying no concession should be expected.

An employee of Malik Riaz informed the court that he (Riaz) was in the UK undergoing treatment. The chief justice asked if Riaz had received the court’s summons, to which the employee replied that he had “not been able to get in touch as yet.”

When asked who took care of business affairs in Riaz’s absence, the officer took eight names including Malik Riaz’s son, Ahmed.

Vice Chief Executive Bahria Town Maryam Rehman also appeared before the court and said that the chairman was in London, while his son was in Dubai. She also said that Malik Riaz has resigned from his post.

Commodore Illyas, another official of Bahria Town, informed the court that board members are responsible for different projects of Bahria Town. Lt Gen (retd) Ehtisham, also an employee, said they have no knowledge of this scam.

Orders

The court summoned Malik Riaz and his son Ahmed for a hearing on Thursday (today), along with a complete record of allegations they have leveled against Arsalan.

The court directed chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to produce the entire records of Bahria Town. The court also issued notices to chief executive of Geo TV and anchors Kamran Khan, Najam Sethi and Shaheen Sehbai to appear before the court with evidence, since they hosted programmes on the issue.

 Conspiracy against the SC

Speaking to the media outside the courtroom, Arsalan’s counsel said the court had taken no decision and had adjourned the hearing till Thursday, June 7.

The court had said that data relating to the case would be provided to the counsel in the next hearing.

“I feel this is a conspiracy to malign the Supreme Court,” Arsalan’s lawyer said. “We will expose the people behind this conspiracy,” he added.

Earlier, upon reaching the court, Arsalan had said that allegations against him, of receiving money and lavish foreign trips from Bahria Town, were “baseless.”

He added that he was “not allowed to go back home” until the court gave its verdict.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (18)

  • Umer
    Jun 7, 2012 - 6:23AM

    He added that he was “not allowed to
    go back home” until the court gave its
    verdict.

    Isn’t he married and living on his own? He is a well off person (wink wink) surely he must have his own dwelling?

    Recommend

  • Hamid Ahmed
    Jun 7, 2012 - 6:51AM

    It will help establish creditably of CJ if he also include in his trial the issue of how Arsalan was admitted to Bolan Medical Collage and how he was promoted to 18 grade in a year from17 grade and transferred from Baluchistan Government to federal Government and from Health department to FIA and then to Police, and training and trip to foreign countries, otherwise whole trial will be a sham and Actually Malik Riaz will be prosecuted and token prosecution for Arsalan.

    Recommend

  • HoneyBee
    Jun 7, 2012 - 7:17AM

    on moral grounds if there is any . . .?? the CJ SC just like HH should first resign . . .!!! then the people trust SC earlier verdicts against PPP and to knock them out in the coming elections . . .!!!

    Recommend

  • Asad
    Jun 7, 2012 - 7:20AM

    Supreme courts starts questioning about the missing people of Balochistan. There are 7 army general on the board of bahria town including an ex ISI head. Then this scandal comes up, any guesses who is pulling the strings here?

    Recommend

  • a&a
    Jun 7, 2012 - 7:22AM

    “Though [Arsalan] is my son, he will be dealt in accordance with the law if found guilty,” the chief justice said. “We can’t give concession to any party over the institution; and for the sake of its prestige, we can go to any extent,”

    Just No Problem SON . .. I m there

    Recommend

  • anybodyagree
    Jun 7, 2012 - 7:30AM

    wishful thinking….!!! someday the Son of CJ will be the President of Pakistan . . .??

    Recommend

  • T Khan
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:09AM

    Relax!!!
    This is Pakistan, where every man with the slightest it of power is a king, judge and jury.
    conflict of interest is something judges recuse themselves for in decent, legally mature and law abiding societies.
    Who can make the CJ follow the rules and regulations??? He is like the sultan, calling people to come and bow before him for he hardly sees a case that is not suo moto.
    Its his time let him enjoy it in peace…some one has to set the record straight and let his son off honorably.Recommend

  • Umer
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:24AM

    Is Arsalan placed on ECL by CJ as he did to Haqani on mere allegations?

    Recommend

  • ahmad
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:32AM

    If judiciary & military involved in corruption, then it’s a trick. If politicians involved, then it’s an outrage!….
    This shows that the rats kept munching on the cheese while loudly decrying that the cat had hidden it in a Swiss fridge.

    Recommend

  • Jun 7, 2012 - 10:00AM

    dont forget young man is above the law.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 7, 2012 - 10:25AM

    Before the extension ends the PCO CJ wants to make sure his son’s name is cleared for good. Who can challenge the acquittal by the SC and try him ever again? That is the reason the Choudhry wants to go for the case by himself ASAP. No NAB, no other courts or commission not even HC, but straight to SC and its CJ would take care of everything like a tribal chief.

    Recommend

  • ayesha_khan
    Jun 7, 2012 - 10:59AM

    @ahmad: Quoting Nadeem Paracha I see.

    Recommend

  • ayesha_khan
    Jun 7, 2012 - 11:00AM

    The Chief justice should read the code of conduct that he himself established in 2009.

    Recommend

  • Jun 7, 2012 - 11:02AM

    Great people make histroy like our honourable chief justice Mr. Iftikhar Chauhdary, who did not even hesitate to summon his own son in the courtroom like a common man. This has also proved a blow to those who wanted to see the judiciary as a disgracefull entity. Now people like Haji Adeel and Raja Riaz should keep silent as they have nothing to say anymore.Judiciary has proved that there is no one above the law, not even the nears and dears of the judges. Those who have chosen the path of mudslinging on judges will be vainshed in the dust of histroy while only truth will prevail. We fully support our honourable CJ and his great caompanions. S.M Zaki,Quetta.

    Recommend

  • Iram
    Jun 7, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Prince Saleem appears before King Akbar but i suspect present king may not able to do justice like the old king.

    Recommend

  • 40th CTP
    Jun 7, 2012 - 11:40AM

    Face saving at its best ;) Instead of resigning from his post on moral grounds, the honorable CJ is using his position of influence to his own benefit, i.e proving his innocence. The fountain of justice, torch-bearer of righteousness and self-proclaimed champion of morality seems to have forgotten the classical principle of Ex parte McCarthy’s case which laid down that justice should not only be done but should manifestly seen to be done. This seems rather inappropriate for a ‘jurist’ of his ‘caliber’ who has received multiple international juristic awards.
    Pity the nation whose sages are silenced
    And whose bigots rule the airwaves
    Pity the nation that raises not its voice
    Except to praise conquerors
    And acclaim the bully as hero

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 7, 2012 - 11:45AM

    Now people! Zardari was right from begining. Salute to the President!

    Recommend

  • waqas
    Jun 10, 2012 - 12:13AM

    Malik Riaz : using name of bahria without having no shares of bahria in it, he has 9 retired generals on his pay rolls , A on service colonel is his staff officer …… and to top it all , he was a clerk in MES (Military Engineering Service) and become a millionth in few years ….. how ? people will know now inshaALLAH !!!

    May justice prevail …Ameen

    Recommend

More in Pakistan