Malik Riaz held presser to expose Arsalan: counsel
05 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Dr Abdul Basit, counsel for Malik Riaz, told the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday that Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the chief justice, had blackmailed his client, which compelled the real estate tycoon to hold a press conference on June 12 to expose Arsalan.
A three-member SC bench, headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, heard the contempt of court case against Malik Riaz Hussain on Wednesday.
Submitting his reply, Malik Riaz offered unqualified and unconditional apology for ridiculing the judiciary in his June 12 press conference and requested the bench to withdraw show-cause notice issued to him.
Dr Basit said that his client did not blackmail anyone instead the chief justice's son had blackmailed Malik Riaz.
"For the purpose of preliminary hearing, the presence of Arsalan is also required in the court for the purpose of cross-examination. This is required to demonstrate that most statements made regarding him in the press conference are true," the lawyer said. Objecting to the transcript of the news conference available on the judicial record, the counsel said that the transcript needed to be verified in the shape of an affidavit.
"The SC registrar is required to be present in person for the purpose of cross-examination. Similarly the person who made the video and one who transcribed the same have to submit affidavits," he added.
Dr Basit said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry made observations in the open court on June 12, which could be construed as directions to involve Malik Riaz in a murder case.
"These observations are beyond all legal parameters. These could have ruined Bahria Town. Since the respondent (Malik Riaz) was denied the opportunity to explain his position in court, he lost self-control," he contended.
The lawyer said that Malik Riaz had held the press conference to prevent the ruining of Bahria Town, which had been brought to the brink of disaster.
Objecting to SC proceedings, Dr Basit said that neither the attorney general of Pakistan was issued notice to appear before the court nor the press conference, which allegedly ridiculed the court, had been discussed so far.
He also said that the context in which personal interaction between the chief justice and other Supreme Court judges was narrated in the so-called press conference was neither to glorify himself (Malik Riaz) nor to denigrate the judges.
Malik Riaz said through his counsel that he had spoken in a state of deep depression and anguish in the press conference.
"He was under intense emotional stress. He spoke extempore. The statements made by him were off-the-cuff and even partly unstructured. This is to be expected from a person who is not used to public speaking. This being so, distortion in communication of the real meaning intended to be conveyed may have occurred at some places," Dr Basit said. During the hearing, the court observed that aftereffects of the instant adjudication wouldn't have any influence over the judges.
Dr Basit has concluded his preliminary arguments. Asharf Gujjar, another petitioner in the matter, will start his arguments today (Thursday).
At the time of serving show-cause notice on Malik Riaz, Justice Shakirullah Jan had observed that prima facie, press conference of Malik Riaz amounted to contempt of court, and said it scandalised and brought the court and its judges into ridicule and lowered the authority of the court.