ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on the hearing of the petitions he filed to seek bail in the Park Lane and luxury vehicles cases.
Mr Zardari filed the petitions before he was taken into custody by NAB in the fake accounts case.
The IHC is scheduled to hear Mr Zardari’s petitions on June 26.
Since the former president is already under NAB’s custody for investigation, the IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani inquired the legal status of the pending bail petitions after dismissal of the identical petition in the fake accounts case.
Mr Zardari’s counsel, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, told the court that unless Mr Zardari gets bail in both cases, NAB can arrest him even after he obtains pre-arrest bail in the fake accounts case.
Since NAB sought exemption from personal appearance of Mr Zardari in the hearing for security reasons, the court asked Advocate Farooq H. Naek whether the presence of the former president in the hearing of the bail petitions was mandatory or otherwise.
Bureau requested court to exempt ex-president from personal appearance
Advocate Naek responded that under the law an accused seeking pre-arrest bail must appear in person before the court.
He said NAB had thrice produced Mr Zardari before the accountability court, adding that the former president, who is also a parliamentarian, had been attending sessions of the National Assembly after his production order was issued by the speaker.
NAB’s prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi argued that since Mr Zardari was in the bureau’s custody, his personal attendance before the IHC was not mandatory.
The court, however, directed NAB to produce Mr Zardari before the IHC bench on June 26.
Mr Zardari through Advocate Naek filed an application before the IHC, seeking his production before the court during the hearing of the petitions.
In the application, Mr Zardari stated that “the petitioner is required to be produced before the Hon’ble Court to ensure the decision of instant petition on merit. Well-being of the petitioner is a matter of concern during the investigation and this can be resolved by producing the petitioner in the court.”
NAB, however, told the court that production of Mr Zardari “may require arrangement of high security and may cause inconvenience for other litigants”.
According to the reply, “the investigation is under way and the petitioner is being interrogated. Medical facilities as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) and directions of the learned Accountability Court are duly being provided to the petitioner.”
Faryal’s remand extended
Meanwhile, accountability court Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik on Monday extended the physical remand of Mr Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur till July 8.
Ms Talpur is detained in her residence which has been declared as sub jail by NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.
She was taken into custody by NAB on June 14.
The accountability court has handed over her custody to NAB till June 24. After expiry of physical remand, the NAB’s prosecution produced her before the accountability judge and requested to extend the remand for another 14 days.
During the proceeding, Judge Malik inquired from Ms Talpur if NAB officials had taken her to a hospital.
She said that a medical team had visited her to conduct an examination. She told the court that she suffered from diabetes and hypertension.
The court directed NAB to produce Ms Talpur before the court on July 8 and adjourned the hearing till then.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2019