ISLAMABAD: On Friday, the office of the Supreme Court returned a petition from former President Asif Ali Zardari requesting the move to every other court in Karachi of four references to corruption pending against him in the Islamabad Accountability Court.
The SC Registrar Office recalled while returning the petition that these references were submitted in the Islamabad court by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in pursuance of an earlier court order of January 7, 2019 in the case of fake accounts Zardari.
Mr. Zardari also opposed the NAB court directives to file the references in the Islamabad court, but on Feb 19, 2019, the Supreme Court rejected his petition after the court directives were categorically and vehemently argued and challenged by the lawyers of the two sides, the registrar’s office said.
There was no provision for a second review, as justified by the terms of Order 26, Rule 9 of the 1980 Supreme Court Rules. The present appeal was then identical to the second review and was then returned for not being entertainable, the court office said.
At the Islamabad accountability court, the former president is faced with four references, including fraudulent bank accounts, Park Lane Estate Private Ltd, Thatta water source and Toshakhana corruption references.
In the Toshakhana (gift repository) reference on Sept 9, Mr Zardari was already indicted by the anti-graft court on charges of money laundering for the development of benami properties by Park Lane Estate Pvt Ltd on Aug 10, in the Thatta water supply reference on Oct 5, as well as in the case of the bogus bank accounts.
Filed by senior lawyer Senator Farooq H. Naek, the petition named as respondents NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal, Islamabad Accountability Court Chairman, former Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Nawaz Sharif, Abdul Ghani Majeed and former Summit Bank CEO Hussain Lawai etc.
The petition claimed that Mr. Zardari had suffered as a result of political victimisation and mudslinging in the country’s recent past by being involved in several fake and fabricated events.
According to the petition, over a total span of around 11 years, Mr. Zardari had seen the rigours of incarceration in bogus and politically driven trials and hence had confidence in the integrity of the courts and the justice system of Pakistan.
In all the fabricated and concocted charges made against him in the past, the former president had been cleared, the petition had suggested.
It claimed that one of the present references emerged from the Federal Investigation Agency’s investigations into fake/benami accounts linked to numerous persons and organisations.
On receipt of Irregular Activity Records from the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), another investigation was launched, the petition said.