ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has informed the Supreme Court that no case of causing a loss to the public exchequer or looting and plundering the national wealth has ever been proved against him in Pakistan or abroad.

In a reply submitted to the apex court in response to a petition moved by Lawyers Foundation for Justice president Advocate Feroz Shah Gilani for the recovery of losses Pakistan had incurred after the promulgation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), Mr Zardari said that he had no role in the promulgation of the ordinance because he was in jail at that time.

The reply was submitted through senior counsel Farooq H. Naek.

The former president said that in contrast to cases against him, criminal cases against other people in Sindh which were closed under the NRO were never reopened.

The cases against Mr Zardari were reopened when the NRO was set aside by the SC in 2009. All the cases were tried de novo, but he had been acquitted in all of them.

PPP co-chairman terms petition against him politically-motivated move to malign him and his party

Earlier, the SC had issued notices to former presidents retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and Mr Zardari with a directive to submit reply to allegations that a huge amount of public money was misappropriated and wasted by the respondents through unlawful means already on record in different judgements of superior courts.

The petitioner contended that Mr Musharraf subverted the constitution by declaring emergency followed by the promulgation of the NRO, arbitrarily withdrawing criminal and corruption cases against a number of politicians, including Mr Zardari, which caused huge financial losses to the nation exchequer.

The reply explained that eight cases against Mr Zardari were reopened and prosecuted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and he was acquitted in all of them.

Referring to pending cases against Mr Zardari before the Swiss courts, the reply said that the attorney general for Geneva had closed the case on merit.

The reply recalled how the law ministry on the direction of the SC had written a letter to the attorney general for Geneva for reopening of cases against Mr Zardari. But the cases were not reopened, it added.

Terming Mr Gilani’s petition frivolous, vexatious and scurrilous, the reply said it was a classic example of a politically motivated move in order to malign Mr Zardari so that maximum political damage could be caused to him and his political party.

It said the petition had been filed in furtherance of a malicious design to defame, disparage and malign the reputation of Mr Zardari and his party.

Moreover, it said, the petition had been filed without substance or proper supporting documents which was testament to its frivolous nature.

The reply reminded that through the course of the cases against Mr Zardari in which he had allegedly caused a loss to the national exchequer, the petitioner had failed to file any appeal against the orders of the acquittal of Mr Zardari.

“As such the instant matter is res judicata and the petitioner ought to be barred from making representations which he has not preferred before the competent forums,” the reply said.

It said Mr Zardari had always faced political victimisation and mudslinging. Mr “Zardari has time and again been made the target of political vendetta and vengeance and had seen the rigours of jail numerous times in false and politically motivated cases for accumulative period of more than eleven years and has done so having faith in the independence of judiciary and the justice system of Pakistan.”

It said time and again innumerable false, frivolous and politically motivated cases had been registered against Mr Zardari on account of his political inclinations. However, he had been acquitted in all those cases. The reply requested the court to dismiss the petition

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018