Arrest warrants: Malik Riaz gets police protection in capital

ISLAMABAD, June 22: The capital police on Friday provided security to property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain apparently to counter any move by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Rawalpindi to arrest him in a land fraud case, sources told Dawn.  

The police security team included a superintendent, a deputy superintendent, an inspector, six personnel of the Anti-Terrorism Squad and a team of 20 policemen from a police station besides a reserve of 20 other personnel and their in-charge, the sources added.

On Thursday, an Anti-Corruption Court in Rawalpindi issued warrants for the arrest of Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz and five other persons for failing to appear before the court in a case relating to the alleged purchase of 1,401 kanals on fake identities and forged documents at Rawat in 2009.

The sources said that under the law, before arresting the property tycoon the Pindi police or the ACE personnel have to take permission from the Aabpara police as Mr Riaz lived in its jurisdiction at G-6/3. In case, they pick him up without informing the Islamabad police, the latter can take action against them. However, the sources also said Malik Riaz was currently not living at his G-6/3 residence and had taken shelter somewhere in the red zone.

The sources said the capital police chief along with some other police officers also visited the house of Malik Riaz on Friday and remained there for over half an hour. However, a police officer on condition of anonymity said they had visited some sensitive installations in a street of G-6/3, which besides Malik Riaz’s residence also housed the Norwegian embassy and offices of the European Union and Voice of America.

The police security was provided to the property tycoon despite the fact that the Supreme Court had recently sought a report from the IGP Islamabad for giving VIP protocol and police security to him.

The Islamabad police have been providing security and giving protocol to the property tycoon for long. On December 9, 2010, the police deployed a contingent of commandoes around his house to counter any raid by the Rawalpindi police to arrest Ali Riaz in connection with a car racing accident.

Meanwhile, after the issuance of warrants for the arrest of Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz in the land fraud case on Thursday, the ACE made two attempts to arrest them. One of the ACE teams, led by Inspector Tanveer Ahmed, planned a swoop on Malik Riaz outside the Supreme Court building on Thursday.

“Malik Riaz had left the venue moments before the arrival of the ACE team,” a source close to the investigation said and added: “Ali Riaz, the chief executive of Bahri Town, has already left the country.”

Another raid by the ACE team was carried out at Rawat to capture four of the accused nominated in the land fraud case but it also proved unproductive.

The source said as many as 24 persons, including Malik Riaz, his son and two employees of Bahria Town – land supervisor Akhtar Saeed and Malik Riaz’s gunman Mohammad Iqbal – had been identified by the ACE as the prime accused in two land fraud cases.The ACE has already arrested eight of the accused, including two employees of Bahria Town.

Malik Asad adds: In another shock to the property tycoon, lawyers in the capital city have challenged in Islamabad High
Court (IHC) the presidential pardon granted to a guard of Malik Riaz convicted in a terrorism/murder case. In another case, the court stopped development of Bahria Enclave.

The act of pardoning the terrorism convict by President Asif Ali Zardari was challenged through a petition filed by advocates Chaudhry Mohammad Naeem Ali and Umar Khayam through their counsel Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf.

The petition said the presidential pardon to Mohammad Basharat, a gunman of the property tycoon, was illegal. He was charged under anti-terrorism act for murdering a citizen on January 9, 2010.

The petitioners contended that the president had no authority to pardon a terrorism convict. The petition would be fixed before an IHC bench on Monday.

In another case, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the court restrained the property tycoon from developing Bahria Enclave on a piece of land allegedly grabbed by him, his son and the management of Bahria Town.

The court passed the restraining orders on a civil suit filed by Farzana Shaheen and her two sisters who sold their 1,219 kanal inherited land to the tycoon in 2005 but are still waiting for the payment.