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Asif Ali Zardari indicted in Park Lane reference

He has been accused of misusing authority as president

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Aug 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Photo: Online

Former president Asif Ali Zardari has been indicted in the Park Lane reference.

An Islamabad accountability court indicted him on Monday morning. Judge Azam Khan read out the charges, which include misusing his power as president of Pakistan.

Zardari has denied all the charges and the trial will now continue. Zardari attended the hearing via video link from Bilawal House in Karachi.

He has been accused of being a director of the Park Lane company which was a ‘front company’ used to conceal illegal acts. According to the indictment, the money from the company was deposited in his accounts via fake bank account pay orders.

Zardari had initially argued that since his lawyer was not present, the indictment should be postponed, however, Judge Khan said his laywer had been issued a notice and didn’t appear, so the process will not be stopped.

He said it is only necessary for the suspect to be there, not their lawyer. When he began reading the charges, Zardari said he knew the process as he had been facing such trials for 30 years.

If you know everything then you shouldn’t have any objections about your lawyer not being here, said Judge Khan. It is because I know everything that I know I need my lawyer here, replied Zardari.

NAB had said that after Zardari is indicted, the prosecution will bring forward 61 witnesses against him, including former National Bank of Pakistan presidents Syed Ali Raza and Qamar Hussain.

The bureau has accused Zardari of misusing his authority as the country’s former president and approving loans for companies allegedly owned by him. He is accused of causing a Rs4 billion loss to the national exchequer.

Zardari, however, had challenged NAB’s jurisdiction in the case. He said that the case falls within the ambit of the banking ordinance and must be heard by banking courts.

The Park Lane Estate company is a Karachi-based real estate firm. NAB had initiated an inquiry against Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on charges of illegally transferring forest land to the firm in collusion with some government officials. Bilawal was given a clean chit in the case on June 12, while Zardari is currently under arrest in this case along with a money laundering case.

Other people named in the reference include Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed, his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson Hussain Lawai, Iqbal Noori, Iqbal Memon, Younis Kudvawi, Mohammad Noori, Sher Ali Uzair Naeem and Muhammad Saleem. Three companies, Tracom, Park Lane and Parthenon, have been named too.

This is the fifth reference that NAB has filed in the fake accounts case.

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