Zardari’s indictment through video link tomorrow

Updated 09 Aug 2020

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Zardari has been facing trial for being involved in obtaining loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited, M/s Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others. — AP/File
Zardari has been facing trial for being involved in obtaining loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited, M/s Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court of Islamabad has directed the registrar office of accountability courts in Karachi to ensure arrangements for indictment of former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and other Park Lane case suspects through video link on Monday.

Judge Mohammad Azam Khan in a letter to the registrar stated: “It has been decided by this court to frame charges through Skype/video link facility against accused persons, namely Asif Ali Zardari, M. Farooq Abdullah, Sher Ali, Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Mohammad Saleem Faisal.”

The letter stated: “National Accountability Bureau, Karachi, will provide the necessary arrangements for the provision of facility of Skype/video link at Bilawal House, Karachi, NICVD hospital, Karachi, and at your [registrar] office.”

The judge also directed the registrar to ensure the identification of the suspects at these places by himself or deputing a representative there on behalf of the accountability court.

Registrar of accountability courts in Karachi told to make arrangements

It asked the Karachi office of the anti-graft watchdog to coordinate with the registrar office for making proper arrangements of Skype/video link facility on August 10 at 9:30am.

NAB was also directed to ensure the presence of the suspects, intimating them in the subject matter by serving them a copy of the court letter.

Earlier, the accountability court issued a written order explaining reasons for dismissing the acquittal plea of the ex-president.

Judge Khan in the written order stated that the counsel for the applicant was supposed to rebut arguments of the deputy prosecutor general, but he submitted the application for withdrawal of the acquittal plea at this final juncture. “The court has heard almost complete arguments from both the sides on the above said application and as well as upon application on point of jurisdiction the prayer in both the applications are almost same, hence, the application for withdrawal is dismissed being showing no cogent reasons and seems nothing just to delay the proceedings,” the court observed.

While the court had fixed August 8 for framing of charges against Mr Zardari, the judge decided that “because of the prevailing situation of pandemic the presence of accused, namely Asif Ali Zardari, Khawaja Anwar Majeed, M. Farooq Abdullah, Sher Ali, M. Saleem Faisal, Iqbal Khan Noori, Muhammad Hanfi, Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza for the purpose of framing of charges will be procured through Skype/video link etc.”

Mr Zardari has been facing trial for being involved in obtaining loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited, M/s Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others.

His counsel Farooq H. Naek earlier argued before the court that Mr Zardari was a director of M/s Park Lane, but he res­igned from the company in 2008 before assuming the office of president of Pakis­tan. He said the board of directors of the company accepted the resignation of Mr Zardari though it could not communicate the matter to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan in time.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2020