Zardari’s indictment in Park Lane reference deferred again

Updated 27 Jun 2020

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Asif Ali Zardari's counsel says apart from Covid-19, air travel is not safe as many pilots possess fake licences. — Online/File
Asif Ali Zardari's counsel says apart from Covid-19, air travel is not safe as many pilots possess fake licences. — Online/File

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Friday again deferred the indictment of former president Asif Ali Zardari and other suspects in the Park Lane reference till July 6.

Judge Mohammad Azam Khan was earlier expected to indict Mr Zardari on June 11 but deferred it to June 26 while issuing instructions to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to make arrangements for participation of the ailing chairman of Omni Group, another suspect, from a hospital in Karachi.

However, when the court resumed proceedings on Friday Mr Zardari was not present.

His counsel Advocate Farooq H. Naek said since no directive regarding taking Mr Zardari on video link were issued during the earlier hearing, the ex-president was unable to attend the proceedings.

Counsel says apart from Covid-19, air travel is not safe as many pilots possess fake licences

In response to the judge’s remarks that Mr Zardari could have appeared in person, Mr Naek said it was difficult for him to travel because of Covid-19. He recalled that ex-prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, who frequently attended the proceedings, had contracted the disease.

According to him, if Mr Zardari appears in person he would be accompanied by scores of people and it would not be possible to observe social distancing.

Moreover, Mr Naek said, the government had recently admitted that a large number of pilots held fake degrees and bogus licences; therefore, air travel is not safe these days.

The judge directed NAB to make arrangements for a video link for Mr Zardari so the court may indict all the accused persons on the next date.

Mr Zardari has been accused of being involved “in extending loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited, M/s Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others.”

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020