LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday allowed Punjab’s former chief minister Usman Buzdar a one-time exemption from personal appearance with another “last warning” of withdrawing his pre-arrest bail in an inquiry into illegal assets by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
A counsel for Mr Buzdar told the court that the former chief minister had been advised to take rest by his doctors due to severe cardiac pain.
Judge Sajjad Ahmad Sheikh expressed his serious displeasure over the repeated nonappearances by Buzdar in his bail proceedings.
Initially, the judge refused to entertain the application for one-time exemption from personal appearance filed by Buzdar’s counsel and directed him to present his client in the court within three hours or have the bail cancelled.
The counsel told the court that Mr Buzdar was unable to travel due to his health condition.
He pointed out that a reply to the NAB questionnaire had been submitted by Mr Buzdar.
He assured the court that the former chief minister would appear at the next hearing.
The judge allowed the request and extended the bail till May 25 with a last warning of withdrawing the relief if he failed to appear next time.
Mr Buzdar skipped the last two hearings of his bail petition, citing medical reasons.
Initially, he had secured pre-arrest bail on Nov 19, 2022, which he withdrew on Dec 13 as the NAB investigating officer said warrants for the arrest had not been issued.
Later, Mr Buzdar again approached the court on Feb 16, 2023 and obtained the bail fearing his arrest in the inquiry.
In his bail petition, Buzdar submitted that the NAB, with mala fide intention and in connivance with the incumbent federal government, had been politically victimising him.
He said all the allegations against him were baseless.
Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2023