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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Monday, gave the last chance to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for appointment of its prosecutor in its appeal against trial court’s verdict for acquitting the PPP’s co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari in two references pertaining to polo ground and Ursus tractors.

A divisional bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq heard the NAB appeals, wherein, it had already sought the references’ record against Zardari from the accountability court, which had acquitted the accused.

During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor requested the court to defer the proceedings. He added that the court may adjourn the hearing for four weeks due to issuance of the NAB amendment ordinance.

At that, Justice Farooq remarked that the NAB amendment ordinance has nothing to do with these appeals. Then, the bench rejected the NAB’s request of deferring the hearing for four weeks and adjourned the proceedings till December 9th.

Previously, the court had granted time to the NAB for appointment of its prosecutor in this matter after the NAB prosecutor, Nasir Mehmood, had informed the bench that the record has been sent to the NAB headquarters for the appointment of the prosecutor in this case.

The NAB had stated in its appeals that the trial court had no powers to acquit the accused in the corruption case. The anti-graft body had challenged the acquittal of Zardari by an accountability court in two references in 2014.

The NAB had moved the IHC through its prosecutor general and challenged the AC’s decision, in which, it had acquitted Zardari in two corruption references including polo ground and Ursus tractors corruption references.

In the application, the NAB had cited Zardari as a respondent and pleaded the court to declare the said verdict of the AC as null and void. The NAB prosecutor had also requested the court to permit them to produce witnesses and evidences against Zardari before the court in this matter.

Earlier, the Accountability Court (AC), Islamabad had acquitted former president Asif Ali Zardari in two corruption cases as the NAB failed to give any proof and produce any witness. The court announced the verdict, saying the accused had not been proven guilty, so far. It further stated that evidence against the former president was not sufficient for further proceedings.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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