ISLAMABAD – Declining Malik Riaz’s request for exemption, the Supreme Court Thursday directed him to appear in person in all the subsequent hearings of the contempt of court proceedings against him.

A three-member special bench headed by Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan heard the contempt of court case against the tycoon. The court sought concise statement of Malik Riaz before nest hearing on July 4.

The court also issued notices to the Pemra chairman and CEOs and anchorpersons of Dunyia News TV channel over a malicious talk show hosted to Malik Riaz whose off-camera footage was posted on youtube. The court issued show cause notices to Riaz on three other applications filed against him.

Dr Abdul Basit representing Malik Riaz said that despite poor health his client has been appearing before the court in person. He requested that Riaz should be exempted from appearing and he should be allowed to complete his medical treatment abroad.

The court, however, rejected the plea and directed Malik Riaz to ensure his presence in all the hearings. Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan told the counsel that the court has not put the name of Malik Riaz on ECL as requested by the petitioner.

The counsel for Riaz sought three weeks time to study the case. He said the contempt proceedings have been conducted against his client on the basis of transcript of a so-called press conference and the said material was not available with him yet. He further contended that he does not know who would prosecute his client in the instant contempt proceedings.

The court told Dr Basit that state counsel would prosecute his client. The court further told him that Urdu transcript of the press conference as well as order of the court in Urdu was read out to the accused in the open court. The court also told the counsel that the accused has already been granted sufficient time to engage his lawyer.

Ashraf Gujar, the petitioner, contended that it’s a purely delaying tactic, adding that the accused is supposed to answer a very 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 directed the counsel to submit concise statement of Malik Riaz before next hearing. Earlier, on June 14, the court had granted 10 days to Malik Riaz for engaging a lawyer in the case as he had told the court that nobody was willing to represent him before the court. Later a two-member bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Muhammad Athar Saeed also issued notices to five persons – including Malik Riaz and Dunya News Chief Executive Mian Aamir over the controversial TV programme.

Lawyers Writers Forum President Liqat Ali Qureshi has filed a petition making respondents Malik Riaz, Pemra chairman and Dunya News Television – through its Chief Executive Mian Aamir and anchorpersons Mubashir Luqman and Mehar Bukhari. The petitioner has urged the court to prosecute all the five respondents under the contempt of court law with a plea to take appropriate action against them in the interest of justice.