ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday directed Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz to file concise statement by today (Tuesday). Bahria Town chief executive Ali Riaz was also ordered to appear in person, otherwise the court said it would be compelled to pass an order.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court Registrar Office rejected a plea of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s son Dr Arsalan Iftikhar for registration of an FIR against real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain.
Private TV channels reported at night that the business baron, who was said to be in the UK for treatment, has reached Islamabad. And his counsel Zahid Bukhari told the media that Riaz will record his statement today.
Arsalan in his plea had also asked the court to order arrest of the business baron and put his name on the Exit Control List (ECL). But the Registrar Office noted that the case is being heard in the court, so the application should be placed before it. Bukhari termed the application a poor attempt to scare away his client.
As the two-member bench comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain resumed the hearing of the case regarding allegations of a clandestine deal between Riaz and Arsalan to influence the judicial process, Bukhari said Riaz would return in two days. Justice Jawwad said for the time being there was no need of his personal appearance but he should have filed the statement on Saturday.
The court on June 7 had ordered both parties to submit their statements by Saturday. Arsalan did file his concise statement but Malik Riaz and his son failed to comply with the order. Taking strong notice of it, Justice Jawwad ordered Zahid Bukhari to file his client’s statement before the hearing on Tuesday (today), saying if he failed then they would proceed on the basis of available material.
Justice Jawwad said three persons of private TV channel appeared before the court and also filed their statements. The court wanted to check and determine veracity of their statements.
He asked Sardar Ishaq, counsel for Dr Arsalan, and Bukhari to propose under what law the trial should be conducted. He said that they wanted to determine the nature of the offence. He inquired what law is attracted, telling them: “You are the best judge in this situation.” Both the counsels suggested different sections of Pakistan Penal Code, like sections 163, 420 (fraud), or 383 (extortion) of the PPC.
Sardar Ishaq argued that if Malik Riaz was unable to appear before the court then at least someone else should submit the documents he allegedly has claimed to be possessing. He said: “My fear is that Malik Riaz is delaying in furnishing documents in order to tamper them.” Mr Bukhari replied that technology is so advanced now that tampering could easily be detected.
Bukhari asked the court to either order an inquiry into allegations against Arsalan by an investigation agency or form a probe commission like it did in memogate case.
Arsalan’s counsel filed a CMA in which he made reference to a programme gone on air on a private TV channel on June 10. In that programme Hamid Mir has been quoted as saying “Malik Riaz has told him that he has video and pictures of Dr Arsalan’s mother and sister.”
Dr Arsalan said he (Malik Riaz) has no right to blackmail his family by using such tactics. He asked the court to put him and Malik Riaz on ECL and if necessary, “put (both of) us in the jail till the finalisation of the case”. He said: “I would reply to all the allegations.” Sardar Ishaq said that during the pendency of the case the media should be restrained from airing any such material. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said: “The scurrilous (material) has no nexus with the case and would not be allowed.”
Zahid Bukhari categorically said that Malik Riaz has not made any such statement to Hamid Mir or to anyone else. He said his client would never say anything, which brings disrespect to any family member of the chief justice and Dr Arsalan.
Sardar Ishaq also expressed fear about the security of his client. Arsalan through his lawyer said his father, Ifthikhar Chaudhry, had expelled him from his house and that he might meet the fate similar to that of Shahbaz Taseer and a son-in-law of a former chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, both of whom were kidnapped in mysterious circumstances.
Bukhari said Malik Riaz would not do anything to cause damage or harm to Dr Arsalan or CJP’s family. The attorney general was however asked to arrange for the security of Dr Arsalan. The attorney general said that he would talk to secretary interior to ensure adequate security to Arsalan and his family.
Ali Zafar appeared as the counsel for Bahria Town. He informed the bench that Bahria Town secretary could not appear in the court to which Justice Jawaad remarked that “this was the court and should not be turned into Bahria Town”.
The Federal Board of Revenue chairman sent a sealed envelope, which was opened in the court. The court noticed that for number of years the tax returns of Malik Riaz were missing. An FBR official informed that, in hurry, whatever they could find they have submitted before the court but they would submit the missing documents as well. The court directed the official to file by Tuesday (today) the complete tax returns of Malik Riaz from 1986-87 till May 15, 2012, when he resigned from Bahria Town as chairman.
Arsalan Iftikhar was scolded by the bench when he interrupted saying he be given 5-minute time as some television channels had discussed his family in talk shows. He wanted to speak about Hamid Mir’s programme.
Dr Arsalan said: “Riaz Malik says that he has pictures and video of my mother and sister.” The court barred him from directly addressing the court. Upon that Dr Arsalan said that “you could send me to jail but I will not tolerate this”. Justice Khilji asked him to maintain court decorum, saying: “If the need be then they will send him to jail.” He said in the presence of his counsel he (Arsalan) should not speak.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said that they would not determine the question of fact on the basis of media reports. He said that media should feel the delicacy of the case. He remarked that it seems as if there was no issue in the whole country other than this case. “Naturally we have to proceed in accordance with law,” he said. The case was adjourned till Tuesday.
Earlier, in the day, Zahid Bukhari told the media his client would return to Pakistan Monday night and appear before the court to record his ‘explosive’ statement. Reacting over the Arsalan’s plea, Bukhari dubbed it as a tactic to bar his client from coming to the country. He said Riaz would come to Pakistan even if 10 FIR’s were registered against him. He claimed that Malik Riaz’s statement would prove explosive.
Last chance for Malik Riaz, son