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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Tuesday, granted 15-day protective bail to former president and co-chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari, in a NAB call-up notice seeking details of his alleged ownership of an apartment in New York.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq heard the case and also directed the PPP co-chairperson to approach the relevant Accountability Court for bail in this case. During the hearing, NAB Special Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Bharwana and Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi appeared before the court and presented amendment ordinance 1 and 2 before the bench.

The chief justice sarcastically remarked has the fourth NAB amendment ordinance, so far been issued or not?

The NAB prosecutor replied, "no", and stated so far, third ordinance has been issued. Justice Farooq questioned whether the accused could move to the high court for getting pre-arrest or post-arrest bails.

The attorney general said that under the fresh amendments in the NAO 1999, the accountability court now has powers to grant pre-arrest or post-arrest bail. Justice Minallah remarked that it is mandatory to present the ordinance in both houses of the Parliament under Article 89 of the Constitution.

Later, the high court extended protective bail of Zardari for 15 days, besides ordering him to secure the bail from the concerned court. In this matter, the anti-corruption watchdog had issued a notice, along with a questionnaire, to the PPP co-chairperson on June 15 seeking details of the apartment, he allegedly owns in Belaire, 524 East 72nd Street, 37F, Manhattan, New York.

In the petition, Zardari's counsel adopted that the notice is baseless and the allegations made therein are based on malafide intentions, so as to malign him. He submitted that the petitioner is not in ownership of any property in New York including [the] apartment as of date mentioned in the notice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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