Amid accusations of conflict of interest, Chief Justice of Pakistan announced on Thursday that he is removing himself from a bench hearing corruption allegations against his son and announced the formation of a two-member bench to look into the claims.
The announcement by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was made as rumors have surfaced that his son, Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry, had accepted bribes worth $3 million to $4 million from a powerful real estate tycoon with ties to the president, several leading politicians and the military.
Malik Riaz Hussain, the businessman, did not attend the court proceedings. Zahid Bukhari, his lawyer, told the court that Mr. Hussain is undergoing medical treatment in London and cannot travel.
On Thursday, Kamran Khan, one of the country s most popular talk show hosts, told the court that Mr. Hussain showed him travel documents, credit card statements and details of Arsalan Chaudhry s stays in London and on the Riviera. Mr. Khan said that Mr. Hussain complained that despite spending so much money on the justice s son, he could not win any support in 42 court cases.
Justice Chaudhry tried to distance himself from his son and at one point remarked: “I will not call him my son. This is Mr. Arsalan standing in front of us.” He claimed to be unaware of his son’s business dealings. Justice Chaudhry said that according to the teachings of the Quran, parents are not responsible for the actions of their children. He also insisted that his financial record had remained unblemished in handling high-profile court cases for more than two decades.
Justice Chaudhry said the new two-person panel will initiate proceedings later Thursday.