Friday, 8 June 2012

Arsalan Iftikhar Case - Mere Allegations

There’s a lot of speculation going on about the Arsalan Iftikhar case and I think that some people have forgotten that it’s just that: speculation and nothing more. Some are demanding that the Chief Justice resign, while others are already beginning to question his integrity. Indeed, listening to some anchor persons and members of the public, one would think that Arsalan Iftikhar has already been convicted and his father proven to be corrupt.  

In reality though, with this kind of evidence, the case cannot stand in any fair court in the world. Allegations are not proof and at the moment, there isn’t much more. It would do us good to remember that a journalist (no matter how senior) claiming that a person X received money from a person Y does not constitute evidence against person X; it’s a mere allegation that needs to be backed up by evidence, which, at least at this time does not exist.

Coming to the second point, I don’t see why the Chief Justice should resign merely because of allegations against his son. In fact, I’d say that the way he has handled the matter up till now, summoning his son and Malik Riaz (who did not show up) to court is highly symbolic , a victory for justice in Pakistan. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the Chief Justice’s own son was summoned to the court by his own father and if that’s not fair, I don’t know what is. After complaints, the CJP also removed himself from the three-member bench hearing the case. I don’t understand what else his skeptics would have him do; surely they do not expect him to hang his son without any evidence?!  

Innocent until proven guilty, so goes the maxim, according to which the courts of our country and that of all other civilized nations function. The time may well come when solid evidence is presented against Arsalan, but until then, it’s unfair to point fingers at him or his father, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, whose reputation, by the way is as untainted as anyone’s in the country.

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