SC bench set up to probe 
off-air clips of Riaz’s interview

The full court of all 16 judges of the Supreme Court in a meeting here discussed what most judges described as a conspiracy to undermine the judiciary under cover of the Arsalan Iftikhar scam implicating Chief Justice’s son in a controversial financial impropriety with real estate baron Malik Riaz.

By Afzal Khan

Published: Sun 17 Jun 2012, 1:29 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:44 AM

The court formed a two-member committee to investigate the controversial off-air clips during a two-hour interview with Malik Riaz aired by a private television channel apparently designed to further malign the chief justice and the court. The clips which have taken the media scene by storm and brought to surface inner rivalries of media men and barons indicate that the interview was a fix in which Malik Riaz was found feeding anti-CJ questions to two anchors and receiving calls from the management and government figures prompting the anchors.

The registrar of the apex court said that the intention of the programme was to defame the judiciary. Planted questions were asked from Malik Riaz in his interview, he added.

“It apparently has exposed the entire plot”, Chief Justice Iftikhar observed while the clips were played before the judges during early part of the session when the media was also allowed to watch the proceedings. The apex court directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (Pemra) to present a complete report on the issue to the court’s registrar.

The two-member panel comprises Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif which has earlier heard the suo motu notice taken by the chief justice in the scam in which his son Arsalan Iftikhar was accused of accepting bribes in the form of cash and expensive tours of Europe and Monte Carlo totalling over Rs340 million.

The two judges, in their verdict, threw Arsalan at the mercy of the government asking Attorney-General Irfan Qadir to order a probe and take stringent action against Arsalan, Malik Riaz and his son-in-law Suleman, a British national who is alleged to have made all payments to Arsalan. They, however, concluded that Malik had provided evidence of payments of only Rs15 million or five per cent of the alleged amount while there was no proof of cash payments.

Malik has been served with contempt of court notice and given time until June 21 to name a counsel for defending his case.

Attorney-General Qadir, who has never concealed his intense aversion and hostility to the chief justice, told reporters that he is trying to constitute a competent team of experts to investigate accusations against Arsalan and his family.

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