ISLAMABAD, June 9: The Supreme Court saw hectic activities on Saturday, usually a lean day, when Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, finally spoke on the charges of financial wrongdoing, denying that he ever had intimacy or relationship with real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.
On his part, Malik Riaz requested the court to refer the sensitive matter to a larger bench from a two-judge bench.
But the court, in a late evening order, rejected the plea moved by Malik Riaz’s counsel Zahid Hussain Bokhari, saying the application for constituting the larger bench was untenable. Besides, under rules of the apex court, a bench consisting of no less than two judges is empowered to hear the case dealing with all important questions of the Constitution and the law.
The order also cited as example the case of a fraud in payment for rental power plants, which was decided recently by a bench comprising two judges.
The court further said since the two-judge bench had already been constituted and without adhering to the procedure laid down under the Constitution, the composition of this bench cannot be changed through through an administrative order.
Meanwhile, Malik Riaz’s counsel did not submit any concise statement to the court on Saturday.
At the last hearing on June 7, the bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain had ordered the lawyers representing Dr Arsalan and Malik Riaz to submit and exchange their respective concise statements by Saturday.
Dr Arsalan, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, submitted a brief statement dubbing allegations as frivolous and unfounded, but the court returned the request made by Malik Riaz through his counsel.
The bench will resume the proceedings on Monday.
ARSALAN SPEAKS OUT: In his statement, Dr Arsalan refuted in strongest terms any relationship, intimacy or acquaintance whatsoever with Malik Riaz, his daughter or son-in-law whose names were also not known to him and that he had never met them in relation to any business deal or for any purpose in or outside Pakistan.
He said baseless, frivolous and unfounded allegations had been spread in the electronic and print media in the absence of any cogent and logical evidence acceptable under the law of evidence.
Dr Arsalan cited a news item appeared on June 8 in an English Daily to prove that the stand taken against him by Malik Riaz had been denied by latter himself. Therefore, Malik Riaz was liable to be dealt with strictly for dragging Dr Arsalan in the court and maligning the august institution of judiciary, the statement said.
Dr Arsalan argued that the statements of TV anchors brought to court record were nothing but “hearsay” as they were allegedly based on the statement of Malik Riaz and thus were inadmissible unless the property tycoon himself appeared before the court and produce admissible evidence.
The claims of anchors like Kamran Khan and Hamid Mir and Group Editor of The News Shaheen Sehbai that some material had been shown to them by Malik Riaz suffered from serious contradictions, the statement said, adding that whatever Kamran Khan deposed before the court was an absolute contradiction to what he had said in his talk show on June 5.
Similarly, Hamid Mir in his statement exonerated him (Dr Arsalan) by saying that the material shown to him was not worthy of acceptance. Thus these statements should be discarded straight away being inadmissible having absolutely no evidentiary value, Dr Arsalan said, adding that these statements were based on surmises and conjectures.
Dr Arsalan also took pride for being the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry whose integrity, he said, was beyond doubt. “Being a son of such a towering personality I have always been careful in my private and public life. I am a 32-year-old man; I earn my bread and butter through my own business and I submit my income tax returns regularly, which can be verified by any citizen of this country,” he said.
The statement argued that the initial burden was upon Malik Riaz to establish the allegations along with explanations to the effect that what the motive was or object behind all the exercise which he wanted to achieve.
It said if Malik Riaz had made investments for favouring him (Dr Arsalan) to achieve illegal ulterior motives, he owed an explanation to the court.
Explaining his bona fide, Dr Arsalan said that in 2009 he had travelled on his own expense to London, along with his family, and hired a flat -- a practice he repeated in 2010 and 2011 for which Rs4.5 million had been deposited through cheque No 1287353 of Standard Chartered Bank Lahore on Aug 15, 2011, by his cousin Muhammad Aamir Rana into Zaid Rehman’s account in Meezan Bank Gulberg branch in Lahore.
Zaid Rehman was known to Dr Arsalan through Ahmed Khalil, a cousin of Zaid Rehman and employee of Bahria Town.
Dr Arsalan said he did not know from whose credit card the rent of the flat which was around 3,200 pounds per week had been paid. Perhaps, he said, he had stayed for four weeks so that the total rent amounted to 10,000 pounds and when he reached London he had to sign an occupancy agreement by submitting the copy of his passport, therefore the formalities as per rules were completed, however the rent had already been paid.