Islamabad : Islamabad’s Accountability Court on Thursday ordered former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to appear before it in connection with corruption charges, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
Presiding Judge Mohammad Bashir, who on Wednesday summoned Zardari and other accused in the Thatta Water Supply corruption case, has now summoned him for the Park Lane case.
The Thatta Water Supply corruption case was among dozens of references transferred from accountability courts because of the amendments made in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) by the PDM coalition government headed by then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif. These amendments were struck down by the Supreme Court on September 15.
Advocate Arshad Tabrez, representing Zardari, contested the summons and referred to a recent Supreme Court stay order that halts the final judgement in corruption cases. However, Judge Mohammad Bashir issued the summons and stressed that the Supreme Court’s restraining order merely postpones the final verdict, not the proceedings.
The accountability court has scheduled December 20 for Zardari to appear along with Iqbal Khan Nuri, Mohammad Iqbal, Khawaja Anwar Majeed, Abdul Ghani Majeed, M Farooq Abdullah, Younis Kadwai, Hussain Lawai and others, according to Dawn report.
Zardari is accused of being involved in extending loans and their misappropriation by Parthenon Private Limited and Park Lane Estate Private Limited, among others, Dawn reported.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has charged Zardari with using his influence to secure bank loans improperly. The bureau called the incident a money laundering case, alleging the illicit transfer of funds abroad.
The same court summoned the suspects in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) corruption cases. During the hearing, Advocate Tabrez, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s lawyer appeared before the court, according to Dawn report.
When the judge asked him to advance arguments on the pending petition for the acquittal of Mr Ashraf and other suspects, Tabrez stressed that the arguments on the acquittal plea will be a futile exercise since the Supreme Court had restrained trial courts from delivering verdicts. The court then scheduled the next hearing on December 14. (AGENCIES)