A bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry was hearing a contempt of court case against Malik Riaz for hurling harsh allegations and three questions at Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at a press conference on June 12. -File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Attorney General Irfan Qadir was not competent to prosecute Malik Riaz of the Bahria Town on contempt charges because he had represented the property magnate in the past.

A bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry was hearing a contempt of court case against Malik Riaz for hurling harsh allegations and three questions at Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at a press conference on June 12.

The bench had said on Monday that it would announce its order on Thursday about whether the AG was eligible to prosecute Malik Riaz.

The court held that the counsel had failed to convince the bench to allow the AG to continue prosecuting the accused and it had reached the conclusion that he should be removed from the proceedings as a prosecutor.

The court ordered its registrar to submit a list of senior counsel so that one of them could be selected to act as a prosecutor on behalf of the court.

Several senior lawyers expressed surprise over the decision and one of them said the court was setting a new precedent since the AG, by virtue of his office, always appeared on its behalf to prosecute a contemnor.

On Sept 15, the AG, in compliance with a directive to submit a list of witnesses and evidence so that the court could commence formal trial of the accused, had named the chief justice as one of the prosecution witnesses.

His list also included Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the chief justice who is embroiled in a financial scam case, Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain, former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Salman Ahmed, son-in-law of Malik Riaz.

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