ISLAMABAD: While announcing the verdict of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) ordered to retreat the case from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and form a new investigating commission headed by ex-police officer Dr Shoaib Suddle, Geo News reported Thursday.
The court has also issued notice to attorney general over his inappropriate actions.
A special bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Jawad S Khwaja and Justice Arif Khilji, passed the judgment.
During today’s proceedings, Dr Arsalan was present in the court while Malik Riaz and his lawyer did not attend the ruling.
The court ordered to form a new investigating team under Dr Shoaib Suddle to probe the matter as the petitioner had told that attorney general’s letter was not in accordance with the court’s order. The court granted judicial power to the commission and instructed to present report in 30 days.
The order also stated that the truth was kept hidden from the court that Irfan Qadir had served as counsel to Malik Riaz in the past. On this, Zahid Bukhari said that Sardar Ishaq had also serves as his lawyer.
The court said that objections were raised over NAB, attorney general and the joint investigation team (JIT) in the review petition. During the process, lawyers of the parties leveled serious allegations against each other while Arsalan Iftikhar expressed his dissatisfaction over NAB and said that unbiased probe could not be expected from the bureau. Arsalan’s counsel also alleged that NAB chairman enjoys close contacts with Malik Riaz.
The SC on Tuesday had reserved its judgment on Dr Arsalan’s review petition challenging its June 14 order relating to allegations of a business deal between him and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.
The bench had stopped the JIT from investigating Arsalan Iftikhar’s case on August 2. Arsalan’s counsel Sardar Muhammad Ishaq completed the arguments on Tuesday after which Zahid Bukhari, the counsel for Malik Riaz Hussain, gave counter arguments.
Zahid Bukhari expressed serious reservations over a press note against the record of the Supreme Court’s registrar in which he (the registrar) had stated that investigation against Arsalan Iftikhar had not been stopped. He said the statement given by the registrar was against the facts.
The special bench on August 2 had stopped the JIT from investigating the case until further orders, while the investigation team was due to go to London next day to collect evidences but could not leave.
The bench had assured of a suitable action in this regard.
Giving his arguments, Bukhari said that in view of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar’s reservations, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman had called back Assistant Superintendent of Police Faisal Bashir and a DSP from the investigation team after which there was no reason to take further action on it.
Bukhari also argued that neither any solid basis of objections nor any proof was brought against NAB Chairman Admiral (r) Fasih Bukhari. He said that an investigation could not be transferred to any other department merely on the basis of allegations. According to the NAB law, no other department can act against a crime, which comes under the purview of NAB.
Bukhari referred to the cases of Moonis Elahi and Abdul Qadir Gilani wherein the Supreme Court did not change investigation teams despite their objections to the investigation officers. Only NAB has the authority to investigate.
Investigation officers could not be appointed on the wish and desire of an accused. Bukhari objected to an application of the counsel for Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, saying Malik Riaz Hussain cannot trust any judicial commission that was why he (Malik Riaz) would not accept any commission.
Since June 6, the court has been issuing arrest warrants against Malik Riaz Hussain and his family members using Anti-Corruption Establishment of the Punjab government. As judicial officers are subordinate to the chief justice of Pakistan, the commission would not be able to dispense fair justice.
Malik Riaz’s counsel also took plea that the current review petition is not fit for hearing. A review petition cannot be based on unfair implementation of a decision. The court was also told that transferable and non-transferable property of Bahria Town was being seized on the pretext of Ali Riaz Malik’s arrest.
The NAB prosecutor told the court that the officials of the Federal Investigation Agency and Islamabad police were included in the JIT to ensure a transparent investigation and there was no other intention.
The NAB additional prosecutor general assured the court that investigation would be completed in good faith, with honesty and according to the law without bearing any pressure.
He further said that cases in question come under the purview of NAB and the bureau is ready to fulfill its responsibilities.
The bench reserved the judgment for two days after hearing lawyers of both the parties. Regarding Malik Riaz’s review petition, which has been pending for two years, the bench held that it will not hear the review petition, but it will form a larger bench comprising three judges whose names will be decided by the chief justice of Pakistan.
During the hearing, Malik Riaz’s lawyer, Zahid Bokhari, objected to the repeated allegations leveled against Malik Riaz and the NAB chairman by Dr Arsalan Iftikhar’s counsel, Sardar Ishaq, and requested the court to stop them from repeating the allegations over and over again.
On which, the bench ordered Dr Arsalan’s counsel to be careful and refrain from repeating the same points. Zahid Bokhari requested the court that if Arsalan’s counsel repeated the allegations against his client, that will not be tolerated.
Bokhari told the court that Arsalan Iftikhar never appeared before the NAB chairman or any other senior officer to refute the allegations against him. Despite this, Dr Arsalan has been allegedly writing threatening letters to the NAB chairman.