In the ever-expanding scandal-ridden landscape of Pakistan my favorite one yet is the Malik Riaz saga! It’s really an amazing tale of “idiocy” on the part of the players and ineptness on the part of the system.
How it all Began…
The story begins one fine day with a certain Mr. Malik Riaz – a high profile real estate tycoon – giving a statement that he bribed the Chief Justice’s son, Mr. Arsalan Chaudry, to get cases pending in his father’s court turned in his own favor. According to Mr. Riaz however, Mr Arsalan defrauded him and did not produce the desired results.
Oh, in case you didn’t know already, Mr. Malik Riaz has several pending cases in court against him, ranging from land grab to murder.
Anyhow, the chief justice – being the beacon of justice in Pakistan now days – promptly took suo moto notice of this and thus began the ultimate tussle between good and evil.
On the Side…
Before we move on with the story, what I don’t understand is that everything in the suo moto notice revolved around whether or not Arsalan Chaudry is corrupt, but what about the fact that a person (Malik Riaz) is openly admitting to bribing the chief justice’s son to influence the path of Justice????????
Why wasn’t Malik Riaz arrested immediately on his arrival in Pakistan (in a private jet no less)? Even if Arsalan Chaudry failed to deliver, isn’t it a crime to bribe someone in any case?
I have run out of profanities and I still cannot express how stupid the whole justice system appears to me.
If you remember, this is the same Malik Riaz who was asked on a program on GEO about how his projects get approved so quickly and how is it that all his dealings with the authorities (in his construction work) goes through smoothly. To this Mr. Riaz proudly replied that he places “wheels” under his files to get them through faster; CLEARLY implying bribing. It is an open secret that Mr. Malik Riaz has quite a few high profile people on his payroll including army personnel and politicians.
On with our Story…
However, to continue with our story, Malik Riaz produced a list of documents including air tickets, hotel bills, and apartment rental agreements as evidence of what he spent on Arsalan Chaudry to bribe him.
Of course the story took a strange twist with Mr. Malik Riaz being exposed of setting up an interview with two popular journalists. Following this, documents of payments made to most senior journalists by Bahria Town (Riaz’s flagship construction project) surfaced, implying that he manipulated the media to his advantage.
As is the case with most high profile cases in Pakistan, this one too is still in progress as of today.
My Two Cents
My take on this comic saga is very clear. This was not just about good and evil, but rather about the never ending political power struggle. On the one hand you have the PML-N represented by Mr. Chief Justice himself, and on the other hand the PPP with Mr. Malik Riaz in their corner.
You beg to differ? Does the unconditional support given by the PML-N to the chief justice not ring a bell?
How about Mr. Asif Ali Zardari selling his father’s mansion (behind Avari Plaza, Karachi) within months of his father’s death to Malik Riaz’s Bahria town where a 40+ storey residential building is being built? This plot is super-prime real-estate in a high security zone with apartments for military personnel on one side and the Baloch Officers’ Mess right opposite. How in the world of &%$# does someone get approvals for such a sensitive project in a matter of months when I have problems getting a line man to fix my land line?!
This whole saga was (in my view) just a ploy by the PPP to tame the chief justice and dent his credibility. Unfortunately (for the PPP) I believe their plot fell flat on its face as Mr. Riaz has recently issued an apology to the Supreme Court and now is even more deeply embroiled in cases pending against him.
Where it all goes from here is anyone’s guess…
(Image Courtesy: BigStockPhoto)