Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry opts out of son’s case
By Rizwan Khatik - Fri Jun 08, 7:42 am
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday removed himself from the bench hearing the suo moto case pertaining to allegations that his son Dr Arsalan Iftikhar received Rs300 to 400 million from business tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain to influence SC verdicts.
Justice Iftikhar reiterated that he would do anything to save the judiciary from destruction and protect the dignity of the institution. He said the apex court would continue to conduct the proceedings in an open court, in broad daylight and in front of the media, would not discriminate in favour of anyone, and would decide the case purely in accordance with the law. The CJ also said if it were in his hands, he would have put both Arsalan and Malik Riaz in handcuffs.
The chief justice detached himself from the three-member bench after Attorney General Irfan Qadir asked him once again not to be the part of the bench hearing his own son’s case. Justice Iftikhar said that the attorney general’s advice was right and hence the bench would be minus-one, announcing that the special two-member bench comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain would continue proceedings in the instant case. “I have faith in these Supreme Court judges,” the chief justice remarked.
The court also directed Malik Riaz Hussain and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz Malik to ensure their presence before the court on June 11 and submit their written statements. The court directed counsel for Dr Arsalan to submit a written statement tomorrow (Saturday) with further direction to both parties to exchange their written statements.
The court in its order further ruled that since the amount of Rs30-40 crores paid on behalf of Malik Riaz Hussain to Dr Arsalan was mentioned in the statements of three persons, including Geo TV anchor Kamran Khan and Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor of The News, it was necessary to ascertain the figures.
Earlier during the hearing, Sardar Ishaq, Counsel for Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, submitted that his client was falsely implicated in the case. He said there is nothing but hot air in the scandal. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja however told the counsel that the institution of the judiciary had been damaged and when the institution was damaged, the whole country was damaged. “That’s why we are trying to get to the bottom of the case,” Justice Jawwad said, asking the counsel to prove that the allegation leveled against his client were false.
The attorney general interrupted and said Dr Arsalan should be dealt with in an independent manner instead of linking him with the institution. The attorney general further said when the chief justice had himself said he had served for so many years without having his own house or car, then why was this still a matter of damaging the institution? “Arsalan is the son of this country, not of this institution,” the AG further said.
During the hearing, the chief justice said he did not know anything about the business deals of his son “who was a 34-year-old adult now”. He went on to point out that he had become a judge in 1990 and had always disposed of his responsibility with courage and integrity. “After all these years, I don’t even have an independent house of mine, not even a car”, he told a jam packed court room. “If I were to go home today or another March 9th was to happen, I wouldn’t have a house to stay in”, he said. At one point a visibly emotional chief justice stated rather angrily that some people thought that everybody could be bought and had a price. “Not any more”, he intoned, adding, “we cannot let things go on like this. Everybody in this country will have to submit to the law of the land”.