ISLAMABAD, June 8: Malik Riaz Hussain, the real estate tycoon and author of the latest nightmare surrounding the son of the widely respected Chief Justice of Pakistan, has admitted that he had no evidence against Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The man, who is today the source of great embarrassment for the chief justice, interestingly, also claims that he still sees the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as a great hope for Pakistan. “I see him as the lone fighter against corruption and misrule,” said Malik Riaz.
This correspondent had five sittings with Malik Riaz during the last few weeks after the business tycoon invited this scribe to his residence to share the documentary evidence against the alleged corruption of CJ’s son Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.
What we discussed during all these meetings was off the record as was the demand of the real estate developer, who did not want to be quoted at that stage.
But on Thursday, Malik Riaz again contacted this scribe on mobile and when his attention was drawn to the fact that some journalists, with whom he had also shared his “explosive” material against the CJ’s son, had already quoted him by name while he had stopped this correspondent, he allowed The News to quote him.
The man, who saw a phenomenal rise as a businessman and enjoys extreme influence in the military, government, civil bureaucracy, media and politics, appeared contradicting himself with regard to the chief justice.
On the one hand, he showed his extreme frustration for being allegedly dealt “unfairly” and “sternly” by the chief justice and, on the other hand, he said Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was the only hope to check corruption.
On one occasion, he said that while all others were busy in loot and plunder, the Chief Justice was the lone fighter against the corrupt.
He was satisfied with his evidence, which he believed would put Dr Arsalan Iftkhar on the mat. He also alleged that Arsalan was being favoured and given money to get the Bahria Town cases settled but he did not have any evidence of corruption against the chief justice.
“I used to adore him and wrote a large number of columns in favour of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,” the Bahria Town tycoon said, adding that Arsalan’s alleged blackmailing for more and more money without any quid pro quo forced them to release the evidence.
When asked if the chief justice knew that his son was getting money from Bahria Town, he said he did not think so.
When asked if the chief justice’s family knew that Dr Arsalan had been taking them to Britain for holidays on Bahria Town’s expenses, he doubted they knew that. He, however, said Dr Arsalan was fully in the picture.
Malik Riaz categorically denied that there was any power whether civilian or military behind his move against the chief justice or his son. He admitted that despite his view that there was nothing with him against the chief justice, he would be under pressure from certain vested interests to blame the chief justice, if he goes public.
He said he did not want to be used by others for their vested interest but was still eager to go public with his evidence.
At one stage, Malik disclosed that he had entered into a written agreement with a British journalist, Christina Lamb, to break the story in the British media but when he was warned of serious consequences for Pakistan of such a move, he decided not to do it and hinted that the evidence might be handed over to The News.
Later, he disclosed that Aitzaz Ahsan was also against breaking of the story through the British media and that too when the Chief Justice was to be present in London to receive an award for being one of the best jurists in the world.
When asked that the evidence, including the making of videos, which were not shown, suggests as if Dr Arsalan was trapped, he said that the CJ’s son had blackmailed the Bahria Town and had been milking him to multiply his fortunes.
On Thursday, while talking to this correspondent, he said that he was not involved in any dealing with the Dr Arsalan case. He said that all the evidence shown by him pertained to his son-in-law.