The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday dismissed National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeals against former president Asif Ali Zardari’s acquittal in references that went back to the 1990s.
NAB had filed these references against Zardari some 25 years ago. The PPP leader was later acquitted in 2014 and 2015. In an application filed in the IHC on Wednesday, NAB’s prosecution contended that further pursuing these cases would be futile as the available evidence was based on photocopies, did not comply with the Qanoon-i-Shahadat (law of evidence) and sought to withdraw its appeals. Presiding over the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the accountability watchdog’s case was not based on merit. “The court told you many times that this appeal is not warranted on merit,” he added.
NAB Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Khan Bharwana agreed with the judge’s remarks, adding that that is why the relevant authority had approved their withdrawal and the watchdog had also submitted a request to withdraw the case. “We are accepting NAB’s request to withdraw the appeals and also rejecting them on the basis of merit,” the IHC chief justice said, further pointing out that the appeals were not even justified on the basis of merit.
Justice Minallah next asked the NAB prosecutor if the institution had conducted any inquiry about the missing case record to which the latter responded that an investigation was ordered. “Do you not know where the records of the cases went?” Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan enquired, to which Justice Minallah remarked: “They (NAB) know where the records went.”