ISLAMABAD: Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir announced on Saturday that the families of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz will be questioned.
He also hinted that the government would form in the next few days a ‘broad-based team’ to investigate alleged financial irregularities involving Arsalan and Riaz.
AG Qadir asserted that the decision to investigate the two families was in line with the apex court orders.
However, Sardar Muhammad Ishaq, attorney for Dr Arsalan, complained that the AG’s announcement reflects ‘mala fide’ intentions on his part because deciding who to investigate was not his prerogative.
Bahria Town’s former chairman Malik Riaz had accused Dr Arsalan of financial impropriety, claiming that he had taken bribes from him and promised to buy off his cases.
In order to substantiate his point, AG Qadir referred to the apex court’s June 14 decision, “…The attorney general, who has assisted us in this case, is fully abreast of all aspects of this case. It is our expectation that he will set the machinery of the state in motion so that all those who may have committed any illegal acts, including Malik Riaz, Dr Arsalan, Salman Ali Khan, etc, are pursued and brought to the book with full force and rigour of the law.”
This excerpt of the judgment was also incorporated in a press note issued by the AG’s office.
“…I shall be having meetings with the chairman [of the] National Accountability Bureau (NAB), law secretary, interior secretary, Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) director-general and IGP/ICT… so as to ensure transparent accountability for determination of commission of acts (if any) of corruption or corrupt practices committed by Malik Riaz and his family, Dr Arslan and his family and Salman Ali Khan, including all other persons connected with the allegations which may eventually be the subject of inquiry or investigation by the relevant authorities,” said the press release.
Responding to a question regarding the time the board will take to complete its investigation, he said that “investigations would be on a fast-track but it depends on how much time it takes to collect evidence.”
“This reflects mala fide of the AG since he has no authority to take such actions. [This] can [only] be done by an investigating body (which is yet to be set up),” Dr Arsalan’s counsel told The Express Tribune.
Ishaq reiterated that such decisions can only be taken by a commission/committee/investigation board and not by the AG himself. Responding to a question, he said that this case “does not come under the purview of NAB or FIA.”
When contacted, Advocate Zahid Bokhari, counsel for Malik Riaz, did not object to the announcement made by the AG. “All those against whom there are allegations of corruption should have to clear themselves and this is what investigation of the case warrants,” he said.
“There is no question of reservations over this decision at this juncture.”
Published In The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2012.