Court to indict Zardari in Park Lane case today

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ISLAMABAD: An accountability court is likely to indict former president Asif Ali Zardari and others accused in the Park Lane case at 9:30am today (Monday).

As the PPP supreme leader is reportedly ill, Islamabad’s Accountability Courts Registrar has asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in Karachi to ensure that Zardari attends the court proceedings through video link from his hospital bed or home.

The registrar has also instructed NAB to make video link arrangements for indictment of others accused, including Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Farooq Abdullah. NAB has also been directed to appoint its representatives for assisting the court in identifying the accused.

At an earlier hearing, Zardari had filed an application for exemption from appearance in the court. His counsel, Farooq H Naik, had told the court his client was not afraid of the trial but even the government had recommended that people over the age of 60 should not go out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NAB prosecutor had requested the court to indict Zardari through video link, adding that absence of the accused was affecting the trial. He had cited a Supreme Court observation about use of the latest technology to complete trials.

NAB filed Park Lane reference against the former president on July 19, 2019. Apart from the PPP leader, the country’s top graft buster also nominated 16 others.

The accountability watchdog claims that billions of rupees were transferred via fake bank accounts to the accounts of the Park Lane Estate Company (Pvt) Ltd, a Karachi-based real estate firm owned by Zardari and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.