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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday restrained the Accountability Court from indicting former president and co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari till the next date in suspicious transactions of Rs8.3 billion in fake bank accounts case.

A division bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition of Zardari to restrain the Accountability Court, Islamabad from framing charges against him.

Besides issuing stay orders against Zardari’s indictment, the IHC bench also issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and directed it to submit a reply.

After issuing the directions, the court deferred for two weeks.

Farooq H Naek informed the bench that he had moved an application for acquittal under Section 265-D read with Section 256-K Code of Criminal Procedure before Accountability Court-III judge Syed Asghar Ali.

However, the AC turned down the petition and decided to indict him and the other accused on October 28.

According to the petition filed by Naek on behalf of Zardari, the allegations against the accused, Zardari, in the reference is regarding purchase of house no F-33, block-04, Clifton, Karachi for a sum of Rs150 million, which has admitted in the reference duly declared in the wealth statement filed before the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and statement of assets and liabilities submitted before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

It added that it is also admitted in the reference that conveyance deed of the said property was duly registered showing sale price paid in cash but it alleged that the payment was made through 18 cheques from joint account of Zain Malik and Mushtaq Ahmed.

The petition also read that the accused has committed no offence come with preview of section 9(a)(ii)(iv) punishable under Section 10 of the NAO 1999.

It continued that there is neither any loss to the national exchequer nor any misuse of authority committed by the applicant and it is private civil transaction between the seller and the purchaser under Transfer of Property Act and Contract Act as applicable in Pakistan.

Petitioner’s counsel argued that while passing the order dated October 14, the AC failed to appreciate that the National Accountability (second amendment) Ordinance 2021 has been promulgated and some amendments has been made in NAO 1999 including Section 4, thereof, vide Section 2.

He added that the provision of the NAB (Second Amendment) Ordinance shall not be applicable to all matters pertaining to federal, provincial or local taxation or any person or entity, who are not directly or indirectly connected with the holder of public office.

He maintained that after the enforcement of the NAB (Second Amendment) Ordinance all inquiries, investigation, trial or proceedings under the ordinance relating to the persons or transactions mentioned in sub-section 2 shall stand transferred to the concerned authorities, departments, and courts.

Therefore, he prayed before the court to declare the said AC order as mala fide, illegal, null and void ab initio, while suspending the operation of the said order.

He also requested the court to restrain the AC from framing charge against the petitioner and acquit him in the said reference.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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