SC adjourns hearing till 10th

Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bukhari insists upon recusal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry from the bench hearing contempt proceedings against him for being biased towards him.

"Will the chief justice head a bench carrying out contempt of court trial proceedings against NAB chief when his son Dr Arsalan Iftikhar appears as witness?" questioned Latif Khosa, legal counsel for Bukhari. He said that the chief justice should not sit in the bench that would hear the contempt case of his client.

A five-judge bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, and comprising Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Muhammad Athar Saeed and Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman was hearing Intra-Court Appeal of Fasih Bukhari against a three-member decision to indict him.

If Bukhari is tried for contempt of court he may mention Dr Arsalan as one of the witnesses show he (CJP) had personal grudge against the NAB chief. Former governor Latif Khosa argued that Dr Arsalan had accused Mr. Bukhari for having personal and financial links with Malik Riaz Hussain of Bharia Town in the case of deal between him and the business tycoon.

The attorney general as per the direction of the court had referred Arsalan and Malik Riaz case to NAB chief but the CJP son had shown complete mistrust in Mr. Bukhari to investigate the accusation against him about getting favours from Bahria Town chief executive.

The NAB chairman counsel further said that there were other reasons for them to question the impartiality of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry while trying Bukhari for contempt charges.

Repeated personal insinuation by the CJP against Bukhari while the case of implementation of the Rental Power Project (RPP) scam judgment has further cemented the apprehension of the appellant about Iftikhar Chaudhry being predisposed in his case.

Khosa argued that the request for recusal of CJP from the three-member bench hearing contempt charges was made only after their plea that the bench that initiate contempt proceedings should not hold the trial.

"You mean that if your request for formulation of new bench was accepted you might not have raised the question of biasness and partiality," Justice Saqib Nisar inquired from the learned counsel.

On March 20 2013 a three-member bench headed by the CJP decided to indict Faasih Bukhari for judicial contempt after he wrote a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari criticising the Supreme Court for interfering in the investigations of different cases by NAB.

Meanwhile a bench headed by CJP and comprising of Justice Ameer Muslim Hani and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed deferred the proceedings regarding indictment of Bukhari till April 10.