ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who has been heading a three-judge Supreme Court bench in the Gun and Country Club case, is among 495 influential people, including Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who are members of this elite sporting club.

According to the documents made available to The Nation, the CJP became a member of this controversial club in mid-2009 and his membership number is I-09-0364. The membership form bearing the CJP’s signatures shows the proposers of his name were Athar Minallah, prominent lawyer who is also a member of the club, and Col Agha Abbas Raza.

The membership fee of Gun and Country Club in 2009 was Rs 150,000 for government officials and Rs 300,000 for civilians while, currently, it is Rs 300,000 for government servants and Rs 600,000 for civilians.

Besides, a member is also required to pay Rs 1,250 per month to retain his membership. As per the documents, the CJP never paid membership fee or monthly fee.

“A retired army officer, Arif Aslam, who was a member of the committee looking after the affairs of the club, has directed us not to collect any fee from the CJP. We never asked him (the CJP) to pay his outstanding dues (over Rs 0.2 million),” said one of the members of the administration, wishing not to be named.

The CJP mentioned the names of his wife Faiqa Iftikhar, daughter Palwasha Iftikhar and son Ahmed Balach in the column in which he had been asked to share the details of his family members with whom he wanted to share the membership. According to the details provided in the membership form, the CJP also holds membership of Karachi Gymkhana.

Since mid-2009, the CJP visited the club twice. “Both the times, he was accompanied by former Attorney General of Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan who is also a member of the club (membership number 338),” the official said, adding his son Ahmed Balach, 13, frequently visited the club to swim in the swimming pool.” Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Quli Khan, Justice (retd) Shakirullah Jan and Justice (retd) Chaudhry Ejaz Yousuf are also members of the club.

The Gun and Country Club was established on November 18, 2002, under Gun Club Resolution 2002, keeping in mind the unavailability of international standard shooting ranges for the 9th SAF Games Shooting events. In October 2011, CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo motu notice of the allotment of additional 28 acres prime land at throw-away rates to Gun and Country Club for the establishment of safety zone around the shooting ranges in the club.

The 28 acres of land near scenic Shakarparyan was given against Rs 280 million. During the course of past hearings, the court pointed out several illegalities in the affairs of club. On the last hearing in the case, Advocate Raja Muhammad Irshad, counsel for the club, sought a one-month time to remove lacunae in the formation and running of the club. The court rejected the request and reserved its ruling which is expected to be announced by the end of January.