Dawn News

Bahriagate probe

JUST yesterday it was one of the most significant corruption scandals in Pakistan’s history. But the Arsalan Iftikhar-Malik Riaz saga barely makes it to prime time television or front pages anymore. Even by Pakistani standards it is extraordinary how soon the media has forgotten the whole sordid affair despite the fact that its real implications go far beyond the behaviour of two individuals. Partly this is a natural result of Pakistan’s frenetic news cycle. But given the enormity of the case, involving as it does possible misconduct not just among individuals but in the supreme judiciary and the media, the speed with which it is disappearing from public discourse suggests a general reluctance, outside of officials investigating it, to look too deeply into the matter.

Meanwhile, Dr Arsalan is resisting giving a statement to the joint investigation committee appointed after the Supreme Court called for an enquiry over a month ago. He is within his legal rights to claim bias on the part of the investigators. But for one, his allegation that everyone from NAB to the FIA to the police are unfit to investigate the case because of prejudice against him or links to Mr Riaz leaves no one to carry out the probe. This is a case in which money trails have to be unravelled, and people with technical expertise are needed to deal with it. More importantly, it involves the independence of the Supreme Court itself, and it erupted at a time when the SC was locked in a contest for moral supremacy with the government. The country deserves to know what the motives were behind Mr Riaz’s disclosures, whether the son of the chief justice took bribes in return for promises of favourable verdicts and to what extent the chief justice was aware of what was going on, even if favourable judgments were not delivered. Dr Arsalan can always legally challenge the findings of the JIT if he doesn’t trust them. But as the SC itself implied when it refused to stay the investigation while it hears Dr Arsalan’s objections, the probe itself needs to be able to proceed.

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Comments (14) Closed

Jul 30, 2012 09:58am
I just know of one thing, if you get too rich too early then something is fishy.
Jul 28, 2012 09:12am
may the ordinary man also get quick justice as the son of CJ.
Muhammad Alvi
Jul 28, 2012 02:46pm
We do not know if Dr. Arsalan took money from Riaz for favorable verdict by the SC. We do not know if the Chief Justice was aware of it. But we do know that Riaz, by his own admission, tried to buy favorable verdict by SC. This is a crime. He should be put in jail for this crime, any way. This person is a great criminal, and should not be at large.
Jul 28, 2012 10:11am
Haji sahib: do you consider fully paid trips along with members of the family to London, Monte Carlo, shopping cartons full from Harrods of London and a small matter of Rs. 340 million a diversionary tactic? Have a heart!
Haji Ashfaq
Jul 28, 2012 08:27am
Ardsheer Cowasjee had written in this very daily a couple of years ago "today's newspaper will be used by the fish vendor tomorrow to wrap fish" - and the news in it too. It has been observed that whenever an important case of corruption against the President is heard in the SC, another 'funda' is floated to divert the attention of the court. This is what the poli-tics of Pakistan is like.
Jul 29, 2012 04:18am
So u r basically implying that the ppl should leave Arsalan, and focus on the president?
Syed Ahmed
Jul 29, 2012 02:42am
Excllent comments by Haji Ashfaq. Tihis is the truth, the whole truth.
Hamid Abbasi
Jul 28, 2012 11:26am
Nothing better could be said than your comments,Haji Ashfaq. Hamid Abbasi
Jul 28, 2012 11:26am
The matter is a private business affair between two private citizens of Pakistan. Why is Supreme Court being draged by the media when they could not prove one ioata bias on any case decision by the Supreme Court.
Abdul Waheed
Jul 28, 2012 05:23am
Arsalan should cooperate with investigation team for prestige of his father and the institution of Supreme Court. If he does mischievious tricks to create hurdles in the fair investigation, it will bring bad name to the top position of his father.
Jul 28, 2012 03:33pm
During the last 60 yeas, the only good thing that happened to this unfortunate country is the present independent judiciary. It is so sad to see how some newspapers - for the sake of their whatever interests or motives - would not leave any chance to create mistrust among their readers. But does it really work?
Jul 28, 2012 05:08pm
Unfortunatetly Pakistan in its most difficult and trying times is in the control of the most corrupt and uneducated misfits in decision making positions,
Jul 28, 2012 05:24pm
The case itself has been solved by Riaz himself. He has openly admitted that Arsalan was approcahed, favors provided to him (details provided by Riaz himself), and it was expected that he'll buy favors for him. So Riaz himself has admited guilt by attempting to buy Justice. Its very clear the target was CJ itself and not other judges of SC. The onus of investigation should be who motivated Riaz (we all know those facts any way) for this? Just buying the CJ himsef would not have solved Riaz legal problems pending in SC. He did NOT try to buy other judges on the benches for his cases. Even if CJ would have decided in his favor, rest of the judges would not have. So why Riaz only try to buy the CJ? On whose behalf. Riaz is correct. He lost money on behalf of some of his friends. He should seek refund from some other people not from Arsalan.
Cyrus Howell
Jul 29, 2012 03:02am
Bullets or ballots? Your choice.