SC rejects exemption plea, summons Riaz on Sept 17


Rejecting Malik Riaz’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance in contempt of court issue, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the real estate tycoon to ensure his presence on September 17, as another bench of the apex court will announce the verdict on the Arsalan Iftikhar graft case today (Thursday).
A two-member SC bench of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry, on a suo motu case regarding Malik Riaz’s media diatribe against the judiciary, also directed Attorney General for Pakistan Irfan Qadir to act as prosecutor and submit his witnesses and evidences against Riaz.
At the outset of the proceedings, Dr Abadul Basit, counsel for Riaz, said his client was unwell and was being treated abroad. He also submitted a medical certificate to verify his claim and pleaded to the court to grant him exemption from personal appearance.
But Ashraf Gujjar, the petitioner, objected to his contention and said Riaz could get medical treatment inside Pakistan and was not required to travel abroad. He said he had already moved a separate plea for placing Riaz’s name on the exit-control list (ECL). Justice Khan disagreed with his stance, and observed that every individual had the constitutional right to get treatment of his choice and avail medical facilities.
Gujjar argued that under relevant laws, Riaz’s presence was mandatory in the contempt proceedings as he would have to face evidence.
The bench also turned down another request by Dr Basit for a decision on an intra-court appeal moved by his client. He stated that the instant contempt proceedings should be halted until a final decision on that appeal.
He said Dr Arsalan Iftikhar’s presence in the case as a witness would clear many things by terming him as the “Ghanta Ghar” of Faisalabad but the bench told him that it was the duty of the attorney general as prosecutor to produce the required evidences.
Basit further contended that his client had now nothing to do with Bahria Town but the case was indirectly affecting the business.
The bench told him that another bench was already seized of the intra-court appeal, so the proceedings in the instant case could not be dropped.
The attorney general said he would be acting as prosecutor in a case in which the applicant had been also a complainant.
Previously, a three-member bench comprising Justice (r) Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim had issued notice on a note put forward by the Registrar of the Supreme Court and a separate plea moved by Chaudhry Ashraf Gujjar advocate, former president of the Islamabad High Court.
The bench had issued notice under Article 204 of the constitution, read with Section 3 of Contempt of Court Act 2003 and the Supreme Court Rules.