SC decides to indict Malik Riaz -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SC decides to indict Malik Riaz

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has decided to indict property magnate Malik Riaz on Monday for making controversial remarks against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at a press conference.

An order issued on Friday by a bench comprising Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed said: “Prima facie the case is fit for further proceedings. Adjourned for July 16, for framing of the charge.” The bench hearing a case of contempt of court against the property tycoon also issued a notice to the attorney general to act as prosecutor in the case. The order said that in case the attorney general was not in a position to do so, he would depute a deputy attorney general for the purpose.

Mr. Riaz will have to appear before the court on Monday because the bench has rejected his counsel’s plea for his exemption from appearing in person because of health reasons.

The bench had reserved its verdict on Thursday after hearing the arguments of Mr Riaz’s counsel, Dr Abdul Basit, and other petitioners about the show-cause notice the court had issued on June 13 under Article 204 of the Constitution (Contempt of Court) read with Section 3 and 17 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance of 2003, Supreme Court Rules 1980 and all other enabling provisions in the law.

Meanwhile, an official statement on Friday said a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had decided to summon Mr Riaz to record his statement.

The JIT will interview Mr Riaz on the allegations he levelled against Arsalan Iftikhar, a son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a graft case.

The JIT has obtained the relevant record from various agencies and more evidence is expected to come forth in the next few days.

The information is being collected under the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, a spokesman for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said.

Notices under section 19 have also been issued to different banks and financial institutions for obtaining information on transactions and accounts of beneficiaries.

The JIT will also try to determine if the case involves money laundering.