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ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday again postponed cross-examination of two prosecution witnesses in Thatta Water Supply case involving former president Asif Ali Zardari and others as the defence counsel did not appear before the court due to lawyers’ protest in Capital.

Accountability Court-II Judge Muhammad Azam Khan while hearing Thatta Water Supply reference involving Zardari and others, a case pertaining to multi-billion fake account cases, adjourned it till March 24.

The defence counsel will cross-examine the prosecution witnesses Zulfiqar Ghopang and Kaleem Shehzad on March 24 if the Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) and Islamabad District Bar Association (IDBA) called off their protests as they are protesting against demolition of their illegal chambers by Capital Development Authority (CDA).

At the start of the hearing, the lawyers for Zardari and other accused in the case filed applications seeking one day exemption of their clients for Monday’s hearing which the court accepted. The court also summoned other two witnesses for recording their statements in the next hearing.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Irfan Bola told the court that according to Islamabad High Court (IHC) order of March 23, a football match may be played at the ground from where CDA removed lawyers’ chamber to end strike.

When the court asked about the teams, the NAB prosecutor said the football match is expected to be played between the protesting lawyers and the judges. He requested the court to adjourn the hearing, saying the witnesses will be cross-examined in the next hearing if the lawyers’ strike ended.

The court adjourned hearing of the case till March 24.

The anti-graft body had nominated Asif Ali Zardari and 13 other suspects in the supplementary reference filed in connection with Thatta water supply scam.

The bureau had not nominated Zardari in the interim reference, and Ashfaq Leghari, and in-charge Naudero House Nadeem Bhutto, in the supplementary reference.

In interim reference, the bureau nominated 13 accused including Ejaz Ahmed Khan, former secretary of Special Initiative Department of Sindh, Hassan Memon, project director/chairman of the procurement committee for the water supply scheme, Thatta, members of the committee namely, Ali Akbar Abro, Aijaz Ahmed Memon, Athar Nawaz Durrani, Abdul Haleem Memon, Mohammad Farrukh Khan, Mohammad Ramzan, Mohammad Siddiq Sulemani, and Zeeshan Hasan Yousaf, a private contractor Harish, CEO Omni Group Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, and Minahal Majeed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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