SC acquits Malik Riaz in contempt case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Thursday accepted a written apology of Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz and acquitted him of contempt of court for holding a contemptuous press conference against the then chief justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, heard the case.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Mansoor Ali Khan were the other members of the bench.

Dr Basit, counsel for Malik Riaz, submitted his client’s unconditional apology and sought the court’s forgiveness.

He said his client had postponed his medical treatment to appear before the court and pleaded that the apology be accepted.

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that this was Riaz's second apology and that the content of the first apology had been the same.

He remarked that charges had been registered in the case but no witness testimonies had been recorded yet.

He remarked that no witness testimonies were recorded with the commission formed for this matter.

The case had been pending for the past seven years, he added.

The chief justice observed that some part of the press conference was objectionable which was held by Malik Riaz in 2012. He remarked that in the press conference Malik Riaz had said that the court was not independent as it was a hostage court being run by some don.

He said Riaz had also said, "I am not implying that the chief justice is the don, in fact Arsalan Iftikhar is the don".

The chief justice observed that journalists present at the press conference had asked Malik Riaz to pay attention to his words. He told the counsel that his client had sought forgiveness and asked if he had also taken back the allegations against the court.

Dr Basit replied that his client had taken back the allegations he had made.

The bench observed that Malik Riaz had not contemned the court again over the past seven years and that his apology seemed to be based on good intentions.

The court also noted that Riaz had taken back allegations against Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

The chief justice remarked that an individual who was held in contempt could ask for forgiveness at any stage.

“There is no reason to doubt Malik Riaz's intentions in tendering the apology,” he added. Later, the court accepted the apology and acquitted him.