The chief justice’s son partially gave up defiance and appeared before a Joint Investigation Team probing graft charges against him – but only to raise legal objections to its formation and the impartiality of its members.
The five-member JIT, formed by the National Accountability Bureau, had reportedly threatened to issue an arrest warrant against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, for not appearing before it, despite its summons.
Dr Arsalan, who is blamed by billionaire businessman Malik Riaz for blackmail and graft, refused to record or submit a statement, arguing he neither trusted members of the investigation team nor the NAB chairman, Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari.
Last Monday, he refused to make a personal appearance before the team comprising officials from NAB, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Islamabad Police, arguing that he did not receive a notice.
The JIT sent a fresh notice demanding his presence on Thursday, in this regard.
The team had also summoned Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain in connection with the same case. Hussain, however, was not ready to comply, arguing he could not be summoned because of his position.
In a fresh notice issued on Thursday, the JIT asked Hussain to make a personal appearance today (Friday); however, it was not clear whether he would show up.
According to a NAB official, Dr Arsalan assured he would appear before the team whenever summoned in the future, but refused to record a statement until the Supreme Court announces its verdict in his petition challenging the formation of the JIT.
“The JIT is biased. I will not record my statement till the apex court announces its verdict over my petition,” he told reporters after the hearing.
Arsalan reiterated the formation of the JIT was illegal and requested the probe team to grant him an extension to record his statement.
Before attending the JIT meeting, Dr Arsalan told the media that Malik Riaz had levelled false allegations against him and he would defend himself.
However, he reiterated that he did not think the JIT formed by the NAB chairman could do him justice.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.