Ex-President Zardari indicted in Park Lane corruption reference

The Nation

ISLAMABAD – An Accountability Court on Monday finally indicted former president and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP)’s Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari through a video link in Park Lane graft reference.
However, Zardari and 12 others accused nominated in the reference denied the charges framed against them after which the court summoned three prosecution witnesses on September 1, for testimony. AC-II Judge Azam Khan conducted hearing on Park Lane corruption reference connected with fake accounts scam against former president and other co-accused. During hearing, former president pleaded that the prosecution’s conduct should be in accordance with the law as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) later on apologises for their action. The NAB, he alleged, made political cases against him.
Asif Ali Zardari, who appeared before court in Islamabad through video link from Bilawal House Karachi, prayed the court to postpone his indictment due to absence of his counsel Farouk H Naek. His lawyer couldn’t attend the proceeding this day due to engagements in Supreme Court, he told the court.
The court rejected the Zardari’s request and read out the charges against him and other accused. According to the charge sheet, Zardari allegedly influenced the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) during his position as President to grant Rs1.5 billion loan to Parthenon, a frontline company of Park Lane. Zardari had been the director of Park Lane Company and made a fraudulent plan to embezzle the amount. The looted money was then sent to the fake accounts.
In response, Zardari denied the charges and adopted the stance that the cases were prepared to politically pressurize him to make him compromise on the 18th Amendment in the Constitution. His trial, he said, should be transparent and fair.
To this, the judge remarked that this court works on principles and laws, adding that everyone was equal in the eyes of law. Zardari requested the court to note in its orders that the charges were framed against him in the absence of his lawyer.
After the indictment, the court summoned three witnesses including Ahsan Aslam, Nabeel Zahoor and Abdul Kabir along with relevant record to testify on the next hearing.

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