ISLAMABAD, Nov 20: The Supreme Court formally commenced on Wednesday contempt proceedings against Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik for not honouring his undertaking of holding the much-needed local government elections in all 43 cantonment boards by Sept 15.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry started the proceedings after a five-judge larger bench had on Nov 18 dismissed his intra-court appeal challenging the indictment and trial on contempt charges.
On Wednesday, the court allowed Attorney General Muneer A. Malik to withdraw himself from prosecuting the defence secretary because he remained associated with the case when the secretary had given the undertaking.
In his place, Additional Attorney General Shahkhawar appeared and submitted three orders issued by the Supreme Court as evidence to prosecute the secretary.
However, Iftikhar Gillani, who was representing the defence secretary, sought time and said he had yet to get instructions from his client who was in America to attend a scheduled Pakistan-US dialogue.
He said Gen Malik was leading the Pakistani delegation and his presence there was necessary. “The dialogue is likely to conclude on Nov 23 after which he will return to the country,” Mr Gillani said.
The court said it would commence the proceedings with the recording of evidence first and regretted that a senior government official had failed to fulfil his commitment made before the Supreme Court.