ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Amid accusations of conflict of interest, Pakistan’s chief justice announced Thursday that he was removing himself from a panel investigating corruption accusations against his son and announced the formation of a two-member bench to look into the accusations.
The announcement by the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was made the day after his son, Arsalan Chaudhry, came to court to deny rumors that he 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 Hussain is undergoing medical treatment in London and cannot travel.
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said he was unaware of his son’s business dealings. He also insisted that his own financial record had remained unblemished in handling high-profile court cases for more than two decades.
He said the new two-person panel would initiate proceedings later Thursday.
The court proceedings, which began Wednesday, have drawn immense interest in Pakistan.
The News, a leading English-language daily, published a report that Arsalan Chaudhry admitted taking expensive vacations in Europe in 2010 and 2011 but said that he was unaware that Hussain picked up any bills for him and his family.