Published On: Fri, Jan 10th, 2014
Published in Category: Islamabad

Zardari appears before Accountability Court as hearing adjourned till Jan 18

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ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari appeared before Islamabad’s Accountability Court on Thursday in hearing of five NAB references against him.

It was for the first time he turned up in any court to face charges since end of his tenure as president of Pakistan back in September 2013. Earlier he was enjoying immunity as head of the state.

The former president was accompanied by PPP workers and stalwarts amid tight security. A judge of accountability court Muhammad Bashir heard the case pertaining to the five references against Zardari.

During the course of proceedings, Farooq H Naek, counsel for Zardari, submitted a plea, stating that all accused in polo ground had been acquitted while pleaded the court to end charges against his client.

After initial hearing, the court adjourned the hearing till Jan 18 as Zardari was not charge-sheeted in today’s proceeding. Asif Zardari’s defence counsel Farooq H.Naik told reporters outside the court that neither any witness appeared in the court nor any evidence was produced.

He said there is no ground of framing charges against Zardari as he is not a main accused in the case and the main accused have already been acquitted.

“We believe in rule of law… He is a brave man and will appear again if the court ordered,” Naik said. Naik said his client was not indicted today and the grounds of charge-sheeting are yet to be debated by the defence side. Addressing the media, former interior minister Rehman Malik said that PPP has always respected court orders.

Asif Ali Zardari was summoned in court on at least five corruption references filed by NAB. The references against Zardari include polo ground, SGS, Cotecna, ARY and Ursus tractors. The court had already acquitted other accused in these references.

The accountability court took a suo moto action and reopened five references against Zardari in October, 2013. Earlier, the references were deferred because he enjoyed constitutional immunity during his tenure as President of Pakistan.

Polo ground reference is build upon the construction of a polo ground in PM house. The NAB had declared it illegal and in violation of rights afforded to him. Zardari had last appeared before court in 2004 after which he got bail and went abroad.
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