Yesterday I came across blurb about the latest troubles of Malik Riaz of Bahria Town, one of the most corrupt people in Pakistan, and was not at all surprised that the guy representing him was none other than Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan. Now I have written enough about Aitzaz to not be surprised by this. My only curiosity was to see what sort of “plea bargaining” he would be trying to do this time (Remember I have stated before that looking at the cases our most brilliant attorney has been involved in, you’ll find his only trick is plea bargaining, nothing more — look at “Aitzaz jumps in with his pig brothers” here where I talk about the Bank of Punjab case; also have a look at his brilliant work for his client in the submarine scam).
Well I was not disappointed:
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC), while hearing the Bahria Town 1,400 kanals land scam case, on Friday accepted the interim bail of Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz and his son for three weeks. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani also rejected the plea for exempting Malik Riaz and his son from the appearance before the court. During the hearing, the counsel for Bahria Town, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan appeared before the bench and stated that his client had settled the matter with the affectees of Bahria Town land scam. He also submitted to the court to exempt Riaz and his son from the appearance before the court during the hearing of this case. Anti Corruption Department’s Director Legal Sadqat Hussain said that both the accused were involved in a criminal case, therefore they could not be exempted from appearance. The court accepting his stance rejected the plea of Riaz and his son regarding the matter and adjourned the hearing for three weeks. staff report
Oh, so again the brilliant argument here is no argument at all (in fact admitting the guilt once again). Now don’t you think any $2 lawyer could have argued that? Wonder how many millions Aitzaz made for this brilliant argument (his minimum fee couple of years ago was Rs. 20 Million but that was two years ago and with inflation the way it is, and the size of the pockets of the client, the sky’s the limit)
But it get’s better. Another story tells of the tricks he tried, having failed at selling the out-of-court settlement mojo:
…On October 26, the Anti-Corruption Court, Rawalpindi issued arrest warrants for Hussain, his son Ali Riaz and five accomplices.
On November 4, Hussain approached the LHC and filed a petition claiming that they were not the beneficiaries and that they were the victims as the fraud was committed against them.
On November 14, the LHC once again directed all the accused to appear before the court in person on November 23.
However, two days before the hearing, NAB authorities issued a notification for the transfer of the case. The NAB notification addressed to ACE was issued with the approval of DG NAB and said: “The competent authority has directed to transfer the case from ACE to NAB, and the relevant record of the case be handed over to the officers of NAB.”
Yesterday, Justice Ijaz Ahmed though resumed hearing of the petition even though Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Malik Riaz Hussain and co, told the court that after the NAB notification he is withdrawing the petition.
On part of the Punjab government, Sadaqat Ali Khan, the additional advocate general (AAG), opposed the withdrawal of the petition and told the court that since the accused were fugitives, they could not be considered for any concession unless they surrendered themselves in the court as the trial court has issued their arrest warrants.
Furthermore, the AAG told the court that the notification was issued in violation of the court order.
In response to a question by Dawn, Sadaqat Ali Khan said that the ACE will file a petition in the LHC against the transfer of the case.
“Under the law, ACE and NAB have separate jurisdictions and NAB cannot issue such a notification without solid grounds. The notification did not mention any tangible reason for transfer of case,” he contended.
He added: “The Supreme Court of Pakistan in the same case accepted the bail applications of Hussain and his son and directed them to deposit a surety of Rs. 50,000 each in the trial court but instead of complying with the court orders, they withdrew their petition and got their case transferred to NAB.”
So let’s break it down:
First Aitzaz tries to ‘settle’ it but fails.
Next he tries to claim his well known fraudster clients are in fact the victims of fraud. I am sure the justices were rolling over with laughter but could not show it. So this trick too fails.
Then he goes and most certainly bribes DG NAB and gets him to issue an ILLEGAL order to transfer the case out of ACE and to NAB. Note too that NAB demands the “relevant records” (so they can be disappeared).
Now thinking that his move has been successful, Aitzaz tries to withdraw the petition (claiming Malik Riaz and Co. are “victims” and having accepted it as the right court by petitioning for bail — both BLUNDERS now in light of the latest moves by Aitzaz) because having that in court means the case stays in that court.
Good thing is the court has not let this move work — so far.
On a not so related story, did Aitzaz not convict his master and client in the NRO case? I am talking his statement after the appeal against SC’s NRO decision was rejected. Right after stating government will implement NRO, he stated:
Replying to a question he said that the office of President enjoyed constitutional immunity and the proceedings against president can not be started in any Court of law.
(And talking about presidential immunity and Aitzaz, DO read this: Lawyers being lawyers and Aitzaz being Aitzaz)
Another funny statement was his following claim:
Talking to media in Supreme Court Aitzaz said that the government had implemented all the judicial verdicts, though there may be delay somewhere due to certain reasons, adding that there should be no ambiguity that government would not implement verdict on annulled National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 2007.
Right, Aitzaz. And wonder why we are still in court over NRO…. ;-)