A day at the courts


The saga continues
The short order is out and it didn’t spring any surprises. There should be an inquiry on the alleged wrongdoing of Arsalan Chaudhry, real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and his son-in-law Salmaan Khan. Everyone is innocent till proven guilty and that everyone deserves the right to a fair trial. So far this reads like a textbook. But it did get specific. Earlier the court has maintained that the suo motu action was, indeed, constitutional. Now it also said that Malik Riaz had, in fact, admitted to paying money in an attempt to buy a favourable verdict. This was followed by the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying about how both parties in an instance of corruption being damned.
So, off to an investigation, then. As this very space has been used to elucidate in earlier days, the court isn’t a body of investigation. Which investigation agency actually gets to do its thing is another matter. The National Accountability Bureau chief has said that the alleged crime in particular doesn’t come within the bureau’s jurisdiction. But soon, the matter of the investigation agency is to be resolved and we will have to wait for an inquiry.
It was an interesting day at the courts otherwise as well. Malik Riaz’s counsel Zahid Bukhari, who seems to have a penchant for choosing unpopular cases (Raymond Davis, Hussain Haqqani, Malik Riaz) has been disallowed by the Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Lahore District Bar Association by lawyers presumably loyal towards the current dispensation in the judiciary. Not to rankle Bukhari too much, whose practice has made a quantum leap higher than most of what Lahore can provide.
To segue into another incident that incited lawyers of the “lawyers’ movement” dispensation, the attorney general exchanged some harsh words with, no, not the aforementioned lawyers but the justices themselves! The maverick lawyer, who happens to be the principal legal officer of the government, was constantly being reminded of his stature and position by the justices but the former didn’t take much heed and reportedly even whipped out a very specific digit of his hand. This led to some scuffling between him and the lawyers before the security intervened.
Both Zahid Bukhari and AG Irfan Qadir’s incidents were avoidable. To the LHCBA and LDBA: don’t hate the player, hate the game. To the AG: calm down, you’re not doing yourself or your client (the government) any good with this attitude.