Zardari moves IHC, wants some other bench to hear bail pleas

Updated 30 Oct 2020

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In this file photo, former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, centre, leaves the IHC building, in Islamabad. — AP/File
In this file photo, former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, centre, leaves the IHC building, in Islamabad. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari filed in the Islamabad High Court on Thursday an application seeking transfer of his bail petitions in different cases from one bench to another.

Currently, an IHC division bench comprising senior puisne judge Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani is hearing the former president’s bail petition in a case related to suspicious transaction of Rs8.3 billion from Bahria Town’s account to the personal account of his private assistant.

The same bench is also hearing Mr Zardari’s another petition seeking bail in the fake accounts case on medical grounds. He has requested the court to transfer this bail petition to the other bench as well.

The PPP leader has filed three petitions for his acquittal in three supplementary references in which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has implicated him as accused. The references relate to Park Lane, Thatta water supply project and mega money laundering.

Former president files petitions for acquittal in three supplementary references

In the petitions, Mr Zardari stated that he was not among the accused persons in the initial references, but was implicated as a suspect through supplementary references filed by NAB.

According to the petitions, there is no provision of filing supplementary references in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).

The petitions contended that the supplementary references were mala fide and, therefore, they were illegal.

The petitions recalled that NAB had on July 21, 2019, filed an interim reference related to Park Lane and then filed a supplementary reference on Aug 20, 2020. The Thatta water supply reference was filed on April 8, 2019, and its supplementary reference was filed on Jan 9, 2020.

Likewise, the mega money laundering case was registered by the FIA on July 6, 2018, and the NAB chairman sought transfer of the case to the bureau’s Rawalpindi directorate in February 2019, and on March 15, a banking court in Karachi transferred the case to an accountability court. NAB filed a supplementary reference in this case in November 2019.

Mr Zardari requested the court to quash the supplementary references since these were filed without any legal provision of the NAO.

Meanwhile, accountability court judge Syed Asghar Ali exempted Mr Zardari from personal appearance in the Toshakhana case as his counsel Farooq H. Naek was busy in the Supreme Court in connection with the election of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020