Witness testifies against Zardari, Gilani

IHC grants NAB time for arguments on acquittal plea of Ahsan Iqbal

Another witness testified before an accountability court (AC) on Thursday against former president Asif Ali Zardari and ex-prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani.

AC-III Judge Syed Asghar Ali heard the graft reference filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB). NAB prosecutor Waseem Javed and the witness, FBR Karachi Additional Commissioner Mirza Nasir, appeared before the court. The court also granted a one-day exemption from hearing to the former president on his lawyer’s request. The court recorded the statement of Mirza Nasir and adjourned the case till June 29.

Separately, another accountability court Thursday adjourned till June 20 the hearing of the Park Lane and mega-money laundering references against Zardari. The court adjourned the case without further proceeding due to the leave of judge Muhammad Azam Khan. Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur submitted requests for one-day exemption from the proceedings. The references were lodged by NAB and are connected to fake bank accounts scam.

Also, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday granted time to NAB for arguments on the acquittal plea of Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal in the Narowal Sports City Complex reference. A two-judge bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Saman Raffat heard the petition of Ahsan Iqbal challenging the accountability court’s decision. On the query of the bench, the petitioner’s lawyer said there was no allegation of corruption against his client and he was accused of misuse of powers in approval of the project despite it being approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP).

The lawyer said that the accountability court, in its judgment, had written that the case did not fall in its jurisdiction. The court asked if there were no corruption charges against the petitioner then what was the NAB case. Justice Farooq questioned why only one person was named in the reference while ignoring other members of CDWP.

The NAB prosecutor said that CDWP operates under the Ministry of Planning and Development. He prayed the court to grant more time for arguments in the case. Justice Farooq asked what was the role and legal status of CDWP and why the anti-graft body adopted a pick-and-choose policy in the case as the project was approved by the board jointly. After this, the court adjourned a further hearing of the case till June 29.