NAB moves LHC against Zardari’s acquittal in corruption reference

  • 22,000 verified documents are available as evidence against Asif Zardari: NAB
  • Zardari was acquitted after listening to incomplete details of the case: NAB

LAHORE – The National Accountability Bureau challenged on Saturday an accountability court’s decision to acquit former president Asif Ali Zardari in ‘assets through illegal means’ reference.

The accountability watchdog filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court against the accountability court’s August 26 verdict, that absolved the former president after the prosecution failed to establish charges leveled against him 19 years ago.

For pursuing the appeal, the NAB constituted a team to present the case before the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC.

In its plea, the graft-buster stated that it had 22,000 verified documents as evidence against Asif Zardari, which are related to offshore companies, Surrey palace, and bank accounts.

The NAB argued that Zardari was acquitted after listening to incomplete details of the case, which set a bad example.

“Crucial witnesses were ignored in the case proceedings” stated the petition.

The NAB offered LHC to amass further records to fully investigate and pleaded the court to decide the case upon merit.

Zardari acquitted in assets’ reference case after 19 years

It is relevant to mention that Justice Khalid Mehmood Ranjha, of accountability court no 1 Rawalpindi, accepted the documents requesting acquittal of the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson.

“The reference filed by the NAB has no legal standing”, stated the court order which was celebrated by PPP.

Zardari’s counsel Farooq Hamid Naek while talking to newsmen after the verdict said that Zardari was acquitted in eight corruption references.

“Six cases were filed during Nawaz’s tenure while two were filed during Pervez Musharraf’s tenure,” he stated.

The reference was filed before an accountability court in 2001 and was closed in 2007 under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), issued by the government of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict in the NRO case on December 2009, had ordered the revival of cases closed under the ordinance. But as Mr Zardari had been sworn in as president he enjoyed immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution.