ISLAMABAD: An accountability court once again deferred the indictment of former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the Park Lane estate reference after his counsel sought additional time to prepare for the case.
The former president has been accused of being involved “in extending a loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited, M/s Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others”.
During the hearing, the defence filed a petition with the court, requesting more time to prepare for the case. “You should have submitted [this] request earlier,” said Justice Azam Khan.
In his response, Barrister Farooq Naek said that he had to conduct more research and take out records related to the case to defend his client.
At this point, NAB prosecutor Muzzafar Abbasi intervened and asked the court to issue a notice to the accused in the case. “We will argue today after 30 minutes,” he told the court.
“Why is the prosecutor in such a hurry in this case?” asked Naek. He questioned that there are other cases that NAB is pursuing but why was the anti-graft body in such a hurry when it came to this particular one against the former president.
“We should be given sufficient time. We are not asking for a stay order,” he said, adding that he was requesting the time for himself and not his client.
However, Abbasi observed by saying that the agency had to submit a response to the court and it should be the one asking for time. “Keep the hearing for the case on the coming Tuesday, I have to do my research,” Naek requested.
But Abbasi intervened again and told the court that it was necessary to charge the accused within seven days after copies of the reference were provided to them.
After hearing the arguments, Judge Azam fixed the next hearing for July 9. To which, Naek stated that he had to appear at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry on the day which is why it would not be possible for him to appear for the hearing.
The court, after listening to Naek, set July 14 as the next hearing date.