Malik Riaz to be indicted on 16th

ISLAMABAD: A three-member bench of the apex court is likely to frame charges against property tycoon Malik Hussain Riaz for contempt of court on July 16.

The Supreme Court three-member bench, comprising Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Athar Saeed, while hearing the show-cause notice and the petitions pertaining to contempt of court against Riaz here on Friday, in a short order directed that Malik Riaz must appear in the court and rejected his oral plea seeking exemption from the court appearance on medical ground.

The Supreme Court has appointed the Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir as the prosecution lawyer for the case and in his absence the deputy attorney general would take his place.

Riaz had been issued a show-cause notice on June 13 for hurling allegations at Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry during his press conference of June 12.

During the hearing, Riaz’s counsel, Advocate Dr. Abdul Basit, requested the bench to allow his client to travel abroad for medical treatment and exempt him for regular court appearances.

Basit pleaded his client came to Pakistan for the hearing despite the fact that his medical treatment was underway abroad; hence, he should be allowed to go back, adding medical check-up is conducted before even court martial. Responding t this, Justice Jan remarked this is court, nothing sort of court martial.

Basit pleaded that Malik Riaz should be exempted from the court appearance or the hearing be adjourned for at least two weeks, which was rejected by the bench. However, Justice Jan told the counsel to submit the application and said the bench would decide on it once Riaz has been indicted for contempt.

In his remarks, Justice Jan said that as such, Malik Riaz prima facie, committed contempt of court; hence, charge will be framed against him on July 16.

It should be mentioned here that Riaz previously tendered an unconditional apology for his press conference in which, with a pocket-sized copy of the Holy Quran in his hand, he levelled serious charges against the judiciary particularly Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his son, Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar, on sub judice issue, and in defiance of an apex court order to speak to the media.