Zardari's exemption plea approved in New York property case
Former CDA chairperson Farkhand Iqbal has been arrested for illegally allotting public land to Park Lane Estate, which is said to be owned by former president Asif Ali Zardari.
He has been charged under Section 9 (a) (vii) and (xii) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
Investigation officer Muhamad Qasim said that Iqbal “willfully and knowingly misused” his authority and gave “illegal favours/benefit” to Park Lane Estate. He reportedly granted approval for handing over of possession of 118k-14m state land under the management of CDA to private firm Park Lane Estate Company.
He even “deliberately ignored the report of the environment wing wherein it was clearly stated that the land belongs to the state and is under the possession of CDA”, the IO said, adding that the former chairperson also misused his authority to hide the documents of the sale.
“Sufficient incriminating evidence is available on record which connects you accused [Iqbal] with the offence of misuse of authority,” the officer said.
An Islamabad accountability court issued the arrest warrants of Zardari’s aide, Mushtaq Ahmed, in the case of suspicious transactions worth Rs8 billion.
The warrants were issued because of Ahmed’s continuous absence from the case hearing.
The hearing has been adjourned till August 5.
Zardari’s lawyer submitted a plea from exemption from appearance in the New York property case against the former president.
The plea said that Zardari has been sick for sometime now. He appeared in court on June 29 during which he had travelled to Lahore too. “Upon return, he suffered chest pain, discomfort in the left side of the chest, pain in the jaw and shortness of breath,” the plea said. The court has approved his request.
In 2018, PTI members had claimed that Zardari owns an apartment in the US and the PPP denied it.
Following this, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi took to Twitter to provide evidence to back up their statement. He posted quarterly statements of account payment coupons from NYC Finance, showing that Zardari had paid taxes to the state of New York this year on the property.
According to the documents, Zardari is listed as the owner of an apartment 37F, 524 East 72nd Street Manhattan.
Zaidi posted statements from November 16, 2018 and August 24, 2018, to show Zardari has been paying taxes on the property and had no outstanding charges.