Supreme Court wants Malik to personally answer contempt charges
By: Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Wednesday to appear before it in person to answer contempt charges against him for interfering in judicial affairs.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk warned that the court would issue arrest warrants if the minister again failed to show up at the next hearing.
Mr Malik is facing contempt charges for forming on Dec 17, 2009, a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising senior officials of the Federal Investigation Agency and ministries of interior and industries, minus then FIA director general Tariq Khosa, following dissatisfaction expressed by the apex court over the report of an inquiry committee into affairs of Pakistan Steel Mills which had suffered a whopping loss of Rs22 billion in 2008-09.
The court had issued the contempt notice to the interior minister on an application of Advocate Dr Aslam Khaki who alleged that Mr Khosa had been transferred to thwart a transparent inquiry into the PSM’s financial scam.
Mr Malik had submitted a one-page apology in response to the contempt notice and expressed regrets over what he said “misunderstanding” created by the constitution of the JIT. The notice charged him with meddling in judicial affairs.
In a detailed verdict issued by the Supreme Court on May 16 in the PSM case, Justice Tariq Parvez had entrusted the job of recovering the embezzled money to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and ordered the court office to reissue the contempt notice to Mr Malik for constituting the JIT.
On Wednesday, Mr Malik’s counsel Azhar Chaudhry said the minister could not appear before the court because of pressing preoccupations.
But the court asked the council to inform his client to appear at the next hearing because he did not enjoy any exemption from personal appearance and postponed the proceedings for a date to be decided later.