Zardari seeks pre-arrest bail in NAB inquiry over alleged New York flat

Published July 5, 2021
Asif Ali Zardari in his petition claimed that the NAB's notice were meant to politically damage his reputation. — DawnNewsTV/File
Asif Ali Zardari in his petition claimed that the NAB's notice were meant to politically damage his reputation. — DawnNewsTV/File

Former president and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on Monday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court seeking pre-arrest bail in response to a notice served on him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inquiring details of his alleged ownership of an apartment in New York.

The watchdog had issued a notice, along with a questionnaire, to the ex-president on June 15, seeking details of the apartment he allegedly owns in Belaire Condominiums located at 524 East 72nd Street, New York.

In the petition, Zardari insisted that the notice is “baseless and the allegations made therein are based on malafide intentions so as to malign” him.

“It is respectfully submitted that the petitioner is not in ownership of any property in New York including [the] apartment as of date mentioned in the notice,” his petition reads.

It further said NAB had issued several call-up notices to Zardari in different matters “to politically damage his reputation”, adding that all those notices were assailed at different forums including at the IHC.

It also mentioned that Zardari was suffering from several ailments and his earlier confinement had made his medical condition worse, adding that the former president was currently under the special care of doctors who were monitoring his health.

The petition has named NAB chairman, director general and three others as respondents.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had in June 2018 filed an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan in Karachi, pressing for the disqualification of Zardari from the National Assembly for concealing ownership of the same New York apartment in his nomination papers.

The plea, filed by Khurram Sher Zaman, argued that “Mr Asif Ali Zardari under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan [...] should be disqualified from holding public office under Article 62 (1)(f), as in my opinion he ceases to be truthful and sagacious."

However, in January 2019, Zaman withdrew his petition, claiming that "we have found evidence that we will present at the highest forum only".

Hearing fixed

The Islamabad High Court has fixed the petition filed by former president Zardari for hearing tomorrow.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq will hear the case.

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