ISLAMABAD - Accepting the review petition filed by Dr Arsalan Iftikhar for not implementing the apex court’s June 14 order in letter and spirit, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Attorney General (AG) Irfan Qadir, Malik Riaz Hussain and other respondents to submit concise statement by July 24.

A two-member bench on June 14 had passed an order, stating: “It is our expectation that the attorney general will set the state machinery in motion so that all those who may have committed any illegal acts, including Malik Riaz Hussain, Dr Arsalan, Salman Ali Khan etc are brought to book with the full force and rigour of the law.”

Sardar Ishaq, the counsel for Arsalan Iftikhar, contended that the attorney general “appears to be proceeding on erroneously construction of the SC order.” He said that the AG supposed to have written a letter to the NAB chairman to investigate the matter and submit its report fortnightly to him (AG). He argued that under the NAB Ordinance, the bureau had absolutely no jurisdiction to conduct any kind of inquiry into the affairs of private individuals. Justice Jawwad said the NAB did not fall in the definition of state machinery, as it was an independent body, whose job was to see corruption in state institutions.

Sardar Ishaq informed the special bench - comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain - that on June 2, he wrote a letter to the NAB chairman and sent its copy to the attorney general, but neither of them responded to date. He also argued that he did not have a copy of a letter, which the attorney general has purportedly written to the NAB chief for investigating the matter.

Deputy Attorney General Shafi Chandio, who was present in the court, argued that he was not aware and in possession of the said letter. The petitioner’s counsel also stated that he wrote another letter to the NAB chairman on behalf of his client again on July 10, but he had not responded so far.

Zahid Bokhari, who is representing Malik Riaz Hussain, objected to listing of the case and said there was no need of urgency of fixing this case today (July 17), as there were a number of other review petitions pending with the court.

But the court in its order stated that it was entirely misconceived. Justice Jawwad said: “It is for the court to decide about listing of the cases and the counsels do not have any role in this regard.” It was explained to Bokhari that the special bench was constituted to hear the case and other review petition. “Since the chief justice has recused himself from hearing this and Bahria Town cases, the SC office, therefore, has put up a note to the senior member of the bench on Monday (July 16).” The bench reiterated that the objections had been noted and addressed. “Once it made it clear to Zahid Bokhari that it is for the court itself in determining of cases in the list and not the counsels.”

The court issued notices to the attorney general, Malik Riaz and other respondents and adjourned the hearing till July 24.