ISLAMABAD: A two-judge special bench comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain hearing Bahria Town related cases expressed its surprise over National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) decision to summon the Registrar of the Supreme Court Dr Faqir Hussain in a controversy between Dr Arsalan, Malik Riaz and his son in law Salman Khan.
Justice Jawwad asked that since the matter is among those three persons, why was the apex court registrar was being called up by NAB?
Sardar Ishaq, counsel for Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, reasoned that NAB’s actions were part of a propaganda campaign by Malik Riaz to malign the apex court.
Zahid Bokhari, the counsel for Malik Riaz, said that it should not be considered a controversy between Malik Riaz and Supreme Court, rather it was a matter between Riaz and Arsalan. The court remarked that it will look into this matter as the Registrar’s issue was related to this court and asked Arsalan’s lawyer to confine himself to his case.
Arsalan had earlier filed a petition seeking a review of court’s June 14 order in the suo motu notice of allegations against him. Sardar Ishaq read out his review petition before the court and he also read out the attorney general’s subsequent letter and said that he actually misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s order and started interference in the independent investigation of an independent apex accountability body, NAB. He pointed out that Attorney General has also sought a fortnightly report on the matter. He further argued that the Attorney General had also settled mode of investigation that betrayed his biasness.
The petition alleged that there is no provision in the NAB Ordinance under which NAB authorities can take action and there is no provision that would authorise the NAB chairman to constitute and select members of such a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the direction of attorney general.
The court also expressed its concern over the language used by Zahid Bokhari for judges. In his statement, the Attorney General said that all judges of the country are working independently under the supervision of the Chief Justice.
Expressing mistrust in the Attorney General Irfan Qadir, Sardar Ishaq asked the court instead of NAB, FIA or Islamabad Police that all are working under the influence of Malik Riaz or Rehman Malik and that a retired judge of the superior judiciary or a retired bureaucrat of grade 22 should be tasked to conduct an inquiry into the case.
On June 14, the bench had asked Qadir to investigate the case revolving around allegations of a business deal between property tycoon Malik Riaz and Arsalan Iftikhar. Qadir had written a letter to the NAB chairman asking Chairman NAB to conduct an investigation into the case referring the court orders in this regard.
Sardar Ishaq told the court that NAB chairman was reluctant to probe the issue, claiming that the matter did not come under NAB’s ambit. Later, on the orders of the attorney general, a joint investigation team was constituted for an investigation. “In response to this move, I wrote a letter to the NAB chairman warning him not to become a puppet in the matter but he did not reply my letter and instead held a press conference where he criticised the contents of the letter,” Sardar Ishaq informed the court. He said that JIT is due to travel to the UK to record Salman Khan's statement.
Bukhari objected over court’s hearing, questioning why was the case being heard at a late hour. He also claimed that media persons and lawyers were not happy with court’s long hour hearings. However, the lawyers and journalist stood up from their seats and rebutted Bokhari’s claim.
Arsalan mentioned Qadir’s profile and history of his cases announced by the Supreme Court against his illegal appointments and alleged that Qadir was biased due to his rivalry with his father, the Chief Justice.
On the request of Zahid Bokhari, the court adjourned the case till Thursday.