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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday accepted former president Asif Ali Zardari’s application for exemption from personal appearance before the court in a fake bank accounts case.

A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the application of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairperson and deferred the hearing till February 3rd.

Advocate Farooq H Naek, appearing on behalf of Asif Zardari, submitted that on January 10 his client was taken to Dr Ziauddin Hospital, Karachi for medical checkup as he was not feeling well and was complaining of chest pain.

He added that after checkup, the doctors advised him to be admitted in hospital for proper medical treatment and as a consequence he was admitted in Dr Ziauddin Hospital. Zardari’s counsel contended that on account of ill-health and being admitted in hospital, the petitioner is unable to appear before the court. He continued that in view of the aforesaid facts, non-appearance of the petitioner before this court is neither intentional, nor deliberate nor willful.

Therefore, he prayed before the court to condone the absence of the petitioner, and his client may be exempted from appearance before the court. After hearing his arguments, the court exempted Asif Zardari from personal appearance for one day, and said it would decide Zardari’s bail plea on medical grounds on the next hearing.

Previously, the court had directed to form a medical board to examine the health condition of former president Asif Ali Zardari who is seeking pre-arrest bail, and directed the relevant authorities to constitute a medical board besides including medical superintendent (MS) of Ziauddin Hospital as a member. Farooq H Naek told the IHC that they filed the bail petition on medical grounds and the court has already granted bail to him in two other cases. He continued that the former president is currently admitted to a private hospital due to his ailment.

Naek pleaded the court to constitute a medical board again in the case.

He added that Zardari is suffering from cardiac, diabetes, and chest diseases.

Moreover, the fresh medical reports of the former president were also submitted to the IHC.

The lawyer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said that they would not oppose the decision to form a medical board comprising medics from the government hospital of Karachi.

This case is related to a suspicious transaction of Rs8.3 billion from Bahria Town through joint accounts of Zain Malik, son-in-law of property tycoon Malik Riaz, into fake accounts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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