Conflict of interest

Published: August 30, 2012
It is hoped that no preferential treatment will be given to Dr Arsalan because of who he may be related to. PHOTO: FILE

It is hoped that no preferential treatment will be given to Dr Arsalan because of who he may be related to. PHOTO: FILE

As a result of its verdict in the Arsalan Iftikhar-Malik Riaz case, on the directives of the Supreme Court, a one-man commission has been formed to probe the corruption allegations levelled against Dr Arsalan, after taking away the case in question from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The Court ruled that it was not satisfied with NAB’s inquiry into the matter. After allegations were levelled against the chief justice’s son by business tycoon Malik Riaz, the chief justice had stepped down from the bench hearing the suo-motu notice over Dr Arsalan’s alleged corruption, so as to avoid a possible situation of conflict of interest. There are implications of the Court’s setting up of a commission to investigate the allegations against Arsalan Iftikhar by Malik Riaz. With due respect, the first is that the perception, even if that is not in fact the case, being given is that the son of the chief justice is being afforded special treatment. How many other litigants are treated in this manner and wouldn’t this particular case give rise to a situation where those involved in other but similar cases could expect such a concession? Furthermore, the fact that the bench expressed disapproval of NAB’s investigations and directed that a commission be set up, indicates quite clearly that it is dictating the investigation of the allegations, despite there being a clear conflict of interest, since the main accused happens to be the chief justice’s son.

If the Court was not satisfied with NAB’s investigation in Dr Arsalan’s case, it could have asked it to work more diligently instead of taking the case away from it altogether, or it could have asked the government to hand it to another investigating body. The argument here could also be that what of those others whose cases pertaining to allegations of corruption or impropriety are pending before a superior court. Can they also expect to be afforded such treatment? The judiciary’s task is not to investigate cases itself, unless in the most pressing of circumstances where the public interest is served and when no situation pertaining to a conflict of interest exists. All institutions have to perform their duties within their requisite mandate. It is hoped that justice will be served in Dr Arsalan’s case and no preferential treatment will be given to him because of who he may be related to.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Toticalling
    Aug 30, 2012 - 10:14PM

    It appears judiciary wants to run the country. Take away the job of NAB. Tell executive what to do. Is there something we are missing here? Yes, the khakis have freedom to carry on.


  • afzaalkhan
    Aug 30, 2012 - 10:18PM

    ET once again come to rescue of its masters. Why don’t you take on NAB which made a commission of Riaz Thaikedar’s men?


  • sabi
    Aug 30, 2012 - 10:19PM

    Very valid points raised in this editorial.But the biggest question is why in the first place cj has kept his eyes closed not once but for so many years on his son’s activities.That’s why quran has stated aulad(children) sometime,as fitna.This is however a tough time for cj and a great testimony on the part of supreme court.


  • a&a
    Aug 30, 2012 - 10:39PM

    It is hoped that justice will be served in Dr Arsalan’s case and no preferential treatment will be given to him because of who he may be related to.

    Is this not a preferential treatment . . .????
    What Other Proof Do We Need Here . . . . ????


  • Ejaaz
    Aug 30, 2012 - 10:43PM

    The PCO Judges will have their way. One man commission? How apparently corrupt do these judges want to be? And they want respect and not be held in contempt of common sense and decency?


  • Bakhtawer BIlal
    Aug 30, 2012 - 11:02PM

    CJ seems to have a very selective vision. It quickly grasped the inefficiency of NAB, while could not fathom the his son prospering from ordinary to extra ordinary in a very short span. Vacationing in Monte Carlo is impossible for rich, it is only for very rich.


  • Harkol
    Aug 30, 2012 - 11:08PM

    So, an accused has a say in the choice of investigative agency that will probe his cases. If that is so, can Zardari say to SC that he doesn’t have faith in Swiss investigation, so, there should be a Pakistani investigator??


  • Justice
    Aug 31, 2012 - 3:30AM

    Commission report will go to SC again, will be challenged by Arsalan and stayed again. He will not be arrested, his assets remain with him and no criminal investigation yet! I also want this treatment!


  • Hamid Ahmed
    Aug 31, 2012 - 8:29AM

    Musharraf was right, please study is reference against CJP and what judges did to it. This PCO CJP has successively deceived all Pakistanis especially the lawyers and media.


  • Mirza
    Aug 31, 2012 - 9:56AM

    In every case there is a defense team, a prosecution and then the neutral judge to provide justice after the two sides slug it out.
    In Memo case there was no prosecution but the court made Mansoor as their star witness and prosecutor (which is usually attorney general) and they themselves appointed commission of their choice despite HH’s no confidence on that.
    While HH had to run for his life, poor and homeless Arsalan is living happily thereafter and his case would be decided by the SC so nobody can challenge that even after the dad is gone. Unlike the cases against PPP leaders which are kept undecided for decades and could be used anytime. They did not call him Don for nothing!


  • F Adeel
    Aug 31, 2012 - 12:29PM

    Come on guys. Don’t be jealous. Every notable’s son is making money. If Arsalan did it too, so what. Both CJ and his son are human and should be treated as such.



  • Aug 31, 2012 - 2:59PM

    A well meaning editorial! Initially the CJI wanted to sit in the Bench himself, knowing clearly that there was a conflict of interest. After he stepped down from the Bench, a verdict like this comes from the Supreme Court. It definitely gives rise to the suspicion whether there is an attempt to accord special treatment to Dr Arsalan because he is the son of CJI. While there may or may not be an attempt to influence due process of law, Supremen Court knows only too well that it is not enough that justice is done; it should also seem to be done.


  • Z.Khan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 3:04PM

    Might is right. These days CJ and SC of Pakistan enjoying the might. On whose assurance is not that clear! Editorial staff of ET knows it when some one enjoys might it does not bother who is saying what. Editorial in very clear wording has raised all the dangers hidden in recent verdict of SC for Arsalan case. But since SC and its judges are enjoying the might as such will pay deaf hearing to all these advises. It is very unfortunate but nothing can be done at this stage.


  • Gul Baran
    Aug 31, 2012 - 3:05PM

    Chief Justice has been doomed by his son.


  • straightup
    Aug 31, 2012 - 6:10PM

    It will be the PCO CJ, who will bring about anarchy and civil war in our country soon (he’d rather have this chaos earlier than that). He have deceptively told us to believe him, that he’s the savior, that he is the nemisis for corruption and blah blah blah. Now since he’s been exposed by his terrible son that he (the father) has deliberately kept a blind eye towards his sons fishy activities, it is certainly time that he packs up and leave along with his corrupt bretheren. His daughter and wife has gambled away thousands of dollars worth of chips in Monte Carlo’s casinos with Malik Riaz’s money. That is a shameful act by muslim women.


  • engr adnan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 8:01PM

    it is the dillemma of pakistan’s poor and unpredictable fate. We are running behind shadows,sometime it takes the name of “qraz utaro mulk sanwaro”, sometime ” sb se phly pakistan ” and now we are being captured by our HH ( so called ) who qoutes ” all the decisions will be costitutional whatever the results may “. i want to ask where was this costitution n its interpretation when you was hearing ephiderine case and memo gate case. now the same constitution and rules has reshaped, when your own son was going to be a victim. it is a common saying that ” insaf ghar se shuru hota hy”.


  • Mirza
    Aug 31, 2012 - 11:52PM

    It was the CJ himself who brought holy Quran in this case. This conflict of interest was compared to the justice of Hazrat Umar (RA) and some of his blind supporters supported this comparison. Now the CJ has protected and insulated the prince from all other courts and agencies and hand picked a one man commission of their choice. Yet it is not conflict of interest just like restoration of CJ was fine under NRO PM and taking oath under PCO was constitutional!


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