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Real estate tycoon Malik Riaz (C) waves to members of the media as he leaves after appearing before the Supreme Court in Islamabad, June 12, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday resumed the hearing of the contempt of court case against property tycoon Malik Riaz, DawnNews reported.

A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Athar Saeed was hearing the case.

A show-cause notice was issued on June 13 to Riaz for hurling allegations at Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry at his press conference of June 12.

Riaz's counsel, Advocate Dr Abdul Basit, failed to appear in court on Thursday on account of ill health.

During the hearing, Advocate-on-Record Raja Abdul Ghafoor told the court that Basit could not appear in court due to ill health on account of his heart condition. The court also rejected a request presented by Ghafoor on behalf of Dr Basit that the hearing be adjourned due to the latter's absence. Upon which, Justice Ejaz said that Dr Basit had concluded his arguments on Wednesday.

The court said Dr Basit only had to listen to the petitioners' arguments which could be done for him by the advocate-on-record or by an assisting counsel. The substituting advocate could take notes and provide them to Dr Basit, the court said.

Justice Jan said an order would only be issued after ample opportunity is provided to the parties involved.

Petitioner Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf Gujjar requested the court to sentence Riaz under the contempt of court laws.

Gujjar, a former president of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, had earlier requested the court to include Riaz’s name in the Exit Control List (ECL). However, Riaz's name was not added to the ECL as he had been complying with the court’s orders.

During today's hearing, Gujjar said Riaz was using delaying tactics in the case and that the real estate tycoon had ridiculed the chief justice and the institution of judiciary.

The petitioners concluded their arguments after which the court adjourned the hearing to July 12.

Earlier on Wednesday, Riaz had submitted his reply to the court in which he had offered an unconditional apology saying he was sorry if his press conference had led to the obstruction of justice.

Also in his reply, Riaz said he had no choice but to hold the press briefing, adding that his aim was “to expose Arsalan” and not to tarnish the image of the chief justice.