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CJ Iftikhar detaches himself from bench hearing son's case

08 June, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has recused himself from the bench hearing the case regarding the allegations of a business deal between Malik Riaz and Arsalan Iftikhar, the CJ's son.

Before quitting from the bench, the chief justice said, "The bench would continue to hear the case minus the CJP and the hearing will be conducted in the open court, so everyone knows about its fate." He said people who think that everyone has a price should know that judges are not for sale anymore. He further said he was unaware of his son's business affairs.

After his recusal, a two-member bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja conducted the hearing. Attorney General Irfan Qadir argued Arsalan Iftikhar should not be treated as a son of the CJP, but as an ordinary citizen. He also suggested that a larger bench should be constituted to hear the case. The court directed Malik Riaz, his son and Bahria Town Chief Executive Ali Ahmed Riaz, and Arsalan Iftikhar to file concise statements and be present during the hearing. The Federal Board of Revenue chairman was ordered to file the tax returns and wealth statements of Bahria Town Private Limited.

"Since in the statements of the three media persons referred to above, there is also mention that rupees thirty to forty crores have been paid by or on behalf of Malik Riaz Hussain to Dr Arsalan, it is necessary for us to get some information on the financial status of Malik Riaz. As we have already been informed that Malik Riaz has no nexus with Bahria Town Pvt Ltd, the chairman, FBR is directed to provide to us the tax returns, wealth statements and other relevant documents which will show to us the net worth of Malik Riaz Hussain. Let this be done by tomorrow," the court said in its order.

"If this institution gets damaged then the whole country would be damaged," the court warned, adding, "We will get into the bottom of this case." The attorney general and Zahid Bukhari, counsel for Malik Riaz, contended that if this was about the honour of the institution then the judges who at the first instance heard the case should not be on the bench. They said a larger bench should be constituted to hear the case. Justice Jawwad told the attorney general the he could file an application in this regard.

Kamran Khan, a political analyst at a private TV channel, told the court that Malik Riaz had shown him dossiers pertaining to Arsalan Iftikhar's summer vacation trips to London over the past three years. The documents, he said, showed his stays were funded by Malik Riaz and a family member in London. Ali Ahmed Riaz and Malik Riaz were summoned for next hearing, which has been set for June 11.

End.

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