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CJ’s son challenges June 14 Supreme Court order

July 13, 2012

ISLAMABAD, July 13: Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, challenged on Friday the June 14 Supreme Court order which, he claimed, contained inherent and apparent errors.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain had in its order asked Attorney General Irfan Qadir to handle the controversy relating to allegations of a business deal worth Rs342 million between Dr Arsalan and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.

“It is our expectation that he (Attorney General Irfan Qadir) will set the machinery of the state in motion so that all those who may have committed any illegal acts including Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Salman Ahmed Khan and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar are pursued and brought to book with the full force and rigours of the law,” the judgment said.

Consequently, on the directives of the attorney general, a five-member joint investigation team (JIT), headed by Director General of NAB’s Financial Crimes Investigation Wing Kauser Iqbal Malik, was formed to look into the matter.

On Friday, Advocate Sardar Muhammad Ishaq Khan, representing Dr Arsalan, filed a petition seeking review of the SC decision. It said the biased attitude of the attorney general was well known and did not need any explanation. Therefore, it alleged, the AG would leave no stone unturned to falsely implicate the petitioner to settle personal vendetta and also to vindicate his position before the government functionaries, especially when he already had failed to persuade the judiciary to accept his viewpoint in the contempt case against former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

So it is not surprising, the petitioner feared, that the AG deliberately tried to assume the role of the chief inquiry officer by wrongly interpreting the judgment by sending illegal directions to the NAB chairman to set up the JIT.

And the bureau chief, without considering the legal and factual position, obeyed the directions without applying his own mind vis-à-vis his own jurisdiction in the matter, the petition added.

“There is no provision in the NAB ordinance under which the authorities can take cognizance of matters such as alleged allegations in the instant case. Similarly, the petitioner has failed to come across a single provision which can authorise the NAB chairman to constitute a JIT and select its members on his own choice, entirely without any sanctity of law,” it said.

The petition alleged that the heads of different components of the present investigative “state machinery” had tainted past and had their own axe to grind against the superior judiciary.

It said: “The NAB chairman, besides having his appointment as such challenged before this court, is a person of ‘suspect’ past, having proven links with Malik Riaz. So much so even his (present NAB chairman) daughter has worked for Malik Riaz.

“There are also reports that he has been inducted as NAB chairman on the recommendation of Malik Riaz and soon after his induction he was offered a plot worth Rs100 million in Islamabad and he accepted it.

“Similarly, the FIA is directly functioning under the supervision and control of PM’s Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik whose membership of Senate has recently been suspended by the Supreme Court. “The Islamabad police are also completely under the influence of the interior ministry and considering the past record of the agency with regard to investigation into different high-profile cases, any inquiry process under these circumstances can be termed anything but transparent or impartial.”

The petitioner alleged that Kauser Iqbal also owned a house in Bahria Town Rawalpindi while Faisal Memon, a member of the JIT and recently promoted as SP (rural) Islamabad, was a crony of Malik Riaz.

“It stands established that the present ‘state machinery’ is incompetent and utterly incapable of carrying out a just and fair investigation,” the review petition said.