ISLAMABAD: Whether you call its Arsalangate, Malikgate or Trapgate, the most disturbing aspect of the present conspiracy against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appears to be a perfect case of entrapment that includes hefty contributions from Malik Riaz of Bahria Town while certain elements representing the prime minister and even the ISI also have an alleged role in this dirty game.
What Malik Riaz or his men did has already been shared by the real estate tycoon with quite a few journalists and is now public knowledge, though denied by his lawyer.
However, Ahmad Khalil, a close buddy of the prime minister, played the master stroke by inviting his “best friend” Arsalan and his widely respected and reputed father to his Lahore residence on Eid day day in a manipulated way so that an apparently uninvited Yusuf Raza Gilani also arrived before the CJ had left.
Ahmad Khalil, who has been a frequent visitor of PM House and the Secretariat besides having been part of some of the official foreign tours of the prime minister, recently denied while talking to this correspondent that the encounter between the chief justice and the prime minister was a set-up.
When asked if he had told Prime Minister Gilani about the Eid day visit of his “best friend” Arsalan and his father, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, he said the premier’s visit was unscheduled and sudden.
This scribe talked to Ahmad Khalil on June 6 but since then he is inaccessible, as his mobile number is not responding. On June 6, an SMS message was sent to him with the request that this correspondent wanted to talk to him but instead of responding directly he immediately rushed to his close friend and business partner (in one of the Bahria Town projects) Malik Riaz, who called this correspondent from his mobile and facilitated the talk.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s son Arsalan Iftikhar during his first face to face meeting with this correspondent on this particular issue, confirmed that he had taken his father to visit his then “best friend” on Eid day.
He had also confirmed that PM Gilani unexpectedly arrived there and after the exchange of pleasantries they left. When contacted on Sunday, Arsalan categorically denied that he had even taken his father to Ahmad Khalil’s Lahore residence on Eid day. In response to a question, he said I couldn’t say anything about whether the video of the event was made or not.
With yesterday’s “best friend” turning into a fishy character, a middleman and a pawn playing in the hands of the enemies of the chief justice, the Bahria Town bosses were duly informed by Ahmad Khalil about his work. Regarding the ISI role, sources allege that there is a video made by an ISI Major or Lt Colonel, showing Arsalan Iftikhar collecting cash in a house, alleged to be a safe house.
Arsalan Iftikhar, when contacted, said that he had engaged an acquaintance from ISI, a Major/Lt Colonel to get the payment in relation to a contract between Fecto Cement and Radian Power Energy.
He said that he received cash on account of the same contract. When asked where it happened, he said I did not remember the exact location but it was a vacant and new house.
He, however, had no explanation as to how the alleged video was made. The ISPR has denied that the ISI had any role in this scandal whereas former DG ISI Lt Gen (R) Shuja Pasha, when contacted, categorically said that neither he allowed any such assignment nor anyone in the ISI could do this without the DG’s permission. In his background briefing with quite a few journalists, Malik Riaz showed them documentary evidence against the alleged corruption of Arsalan Iftikhar.
He also talked of some video but did not show it to anyone. Publicly he has denied the media reports regarding his meetings and discussions with mediamen but Bahria Town sources said that the Eid encounter incident has been secured as a surprise attack against the chief justice, who remained clear and distanced from all the charges levelled against his son.
Regarding the unauthorized recordings and videos, the Bahria Town sources said that they did it because they were blackmailed by Arsalan Iftikhar, who, however, denies all charges levelled against him and insists that he is innocent.