The real estate tycoon, Malik Riaz, has created quite a commotion in the already troubled waters of the national landscape. His meteoric rise to the status of a tycoon, and the power that comes with it, is a classic story of rags to riches. There is no way in the world one can accumulate such a huge fortune through legitimate means of earning, except by hitting a lottery or a gold mine.

He, however, is not the only one in this ‘land of the pure’. There are hundreds and thousands of them including politicians, generals, bureaucrats, businessmen and even media men, who have made fortunes - but not exactly the same - through illegitimate means. They all have a common cause and would go to any extent to safeguard their collective vested interests.

Due to this, unfortunately, Pakistan is listed among the top most corrupt nations in the world. What makes it possible for these unscrupulous individuals to achieve the status of a tycoon or a billionaire, undoubtedly, is the culture of graft and entitlement; a collateral offshoot of the decadent feudal system.

Obviously, Malik Riaz accumulated the wealth with the help and connivance of the people in the corridors of power or connected to the centres of power, obliging them with their due share of the booty. He has connections with the politicians, generals, top bureaucrats, a few members of the judiciary and some media stalwarts. Moreover, the fact that some retired generals are serving in his real estate empire, tells the whole story and one does not have to go into detail.

Now coming to the allegations that Malik Riaz has hurled at the Chief Justice’s son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar. It ostensibly seems a typical episode of taking undue advantage of the position and status of a powerful state functionary by his son and an unscrupulous business magnate using him for his sinister designs through bribes or favours; a phenomenon not very uncommon in the third world countries.

As expected, the evidence that has emerged so far from different sources, and even Malik’s statement in the Supreme Court, does not implicate the CJ in this sordid affair. Indeed, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has saved the integrity and sovereignty of the Supreme Court. But, regrettably, the issue has been turned into a scandal of national magnitude by a section of our media.

After the suo motu notice taken by the Supreme Court in a bid to untangle the conundrum, a section of the media should have avoided assigning motives to the episode, bandying around conspiracy theories, pointing accusing fingers at agencies and the government and terming it as assault on the judiciary.

The responsibility of the media as representative of society is to report facts and desist from scandalising issues fraught with the potential to harm national interests, and also to curb its insatiable propensity to play a partisan role. It is also not supposed to indulge in political manoeuvring.

Nevertheless, now that the matter has assumed threatening proportions, it needs to be thoroughly investigated to unravel the truth behind the allegations levelled by the real estate tycoon and the law must be allowed to take its course in the light of the findings. It is advisable for the media to refrain from doing anything that could possibly influence the proceedings in the court.

 Anyway, the Supreme Court has done well by ordering the Attorney General to initiate proceedings against Dr Arsalan, Malik Riaz and his son-in-law Salman according to law with a view to ferreting out the truth. In view of this development, it would be advisable for the media, the parties to this dispute and the political forces to exercise caution and curb their proclivities to act like loose cannons.                

  The writer is a freelance columnist.

    Email: ashpak10@gmail.com