SC issues notice to NAB chief in Zardari’s petition for transfer of cases

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday served a notice to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief Justice (r) Javed Iqbal in a petition filed by former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari seeking transfer of graft references against him from the Islamabad accounta­bility court to any other accountability court in Karachi.

The cases include fake bank accounts reference, Park Lane estate reference, Thatta water supply reference and Toshakhana reference.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the petition filed by Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek.

“We have to review the circumstances under which the Supreme Court ordered to file the reference in Islamabad [accountability court]”, the bench said.

The judge also referred to a 2019 apex court judgment wherein it had ordered the transfer of all cases related to fake bank accounts scam from Karachi to Islamabad.

Naek observed under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, it is a legal right of a suspect to apply for transfer of cases and cannot be revoked through a court order.

Justice Bandial remarked the verdict mentioned several allegations which led to the case being filed in Islamabad. At this, Naek requested the court to ask NAB if those allegations were still valid.

“NAB files reference in Islamabad on court’s order,” Justice Bandial responded, asking if references against Zardari have ever been filed in Islamabad before. At this, the defense said the cases were filed in Lahore and Rawalpindi and one was heard in Attock fort.

“Zardari has been acquitted in all cases in the past,” he added.

Giving notice to chairman NAB, the apex court adjourned the proceedings for a month. The court also issued notices to all the accused including Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur.

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