No exemption for Malik Riaz from appearing in SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday rejected real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain’s plea to exempt him for appearing during the hearings of contempt of court case against him.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, conducted proceedings against Malik Riaz for allegedly ridiculing the judiciary.

Dr Abdul Basit, counsel for Malik Riaz, requested the court to exempt his client from appearing before the court because of his poor health. He added Malik Riaz should be allowed to get medical treatment abroad.

The court, however, rejected the plea and directed Malik Riaz to ensure his presence in all the subsequent hearings of contempt proceedings against him.

Dr Basit said that despite of poor health, the tycoon was present in the courtroom. Justice Shakirullah told the lawyer that the court has not put the name of Malik Riaz on Exit Control List (ECL) as requested by the petitioner.

Dr Basit also sought three weeks to study the case. He said contempt proceedings were being conducted against his client on the basis of the transcript of a “so-called press conference” and the said material was not available with him yet.

The lawyer contended that he also did not know as to who would prosecute his client in the instant contempt proceedings. The court told the counsel that a state counsel would prosecute his client in the instant case.

The court also told Dr Basit that transcript of the press conference and order of the court had been read out to the accused in the open court.

The counsel, however, sought minimum three weeks for the preparation of the case. He also demanded “ample security” for his client. But the court said the accused had already been granted sufficient time to engage a lawyer.

Ashraf Gujjar, the petitioner, said that the respondent was using delaying tactics. He added the accused was supposed to answer a simple question as to whether he had addressed a press conference and ridiculed the judiciary or not.

The court adjourned the hearing until July 4 and sought concise statement of Malik Riaz before the hearing on July 3.

Meanwhile, the court also summoned the record of the Arsalan Iftikhar suo motu case at the next hearing.

On June 14, the court had granted seven days to Malik Riaz for engaging a counsel in the case as he had told the court that he had contacted many senior lawyers but nobody was willing to defend him.