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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and others on Wednesday obtained more relief from the Accountability Court after it sent Park Lane case against him and others back to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in view of the amendments made by the coalition government to the NAB law.

The Accountability Court-II judge, Nasir Javed Rana, while announcing its reserved verdict on the pleas filed by Zardari and others, in which they have challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the court under the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022, sent the reference back to the NAB.

The court declared that the instant references did not fall under the ambit of this court after the promulgation of the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022. The court returned the files of the references to the NAB for placing the matter before the appropriate forums.

Earlier, the court reserved its ruling on the plea filed by Asif Zardari after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence counsel. Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek and NAB prosecutor Usman Masood appeared before the court.

Naek while arguing before the court said that after the passage of the NAB amendment law, the reference did not fall under the jurisdiction of the accountability court.

The judge said that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had already given its verdict regarding the NAB references. As per the IHC’s decision, reference could not be sent back to the NAB, the judge further said.

Zardari’s counsel said that the IHC’s decision pertained to amnesty schemes and tax cases. The IHC’s decision is not applicable to the instant case, he said.

The NAB prosecutor, Usman Masood, while opposing the plea, said the court should first decide about its jurisdiction regarding the reference. In this case, a loan of Rs 1.5 billion was taken which was later increased up to Rs 2.8 billion, he said.

The former president has already got relief in the Thatta water supply case against him and others, Toshakhana case against him, former premier Nawaz Sharif, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, and in suspicious transaction case against him.

The Accountability Court in 2022 indicted the former president and others in a case involving allegations of money laundering and misuse of authority in the Park Lane reference.

Those who were nominated by the NAB in the supplementary reference filed in connection with the Park Lane case included, Zardari, Muhammad Iqbal Memon, director Park Lane Company, M/s Park Lane Estate (Private) Limited, Muhammad Iqbal Khan Noori director M/s Parthenon (Pvt) Ltd, Muhammad Hanif Accountant M/s Park Lane Estate, M/s Parthenon (Pvt) Limited, an incorporated entity bearing certificate of incorporation under the provision of the Companies Ordinance 1984, and Hussain Lawai, former president Arif Habib Bank, and the Summit Bank.

The other accused included Abdul Ghani Majid, shareholder/director Regent Service (Pvt) Ltd multiple companies known as Omni Group, Khawaja Anwar Majid shareholder director Omni Group, Taha Raza public relationship manager Arif Habib Bank now Summit Bank, Farooq Abdullah area branch manager HBL, UzairNaeem former AVP Summit Bank, M/s Tracom (Pvt) Ltd through GM South - an incorporated entity bearing certificate of incorporation under the provision of the companies office, Muhammad Saleem Faisal General Manager (GM) M/s Tracom (Pvt) Limited, and Zahir Ismail.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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