RAWALPINDI - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday challenged acquittal of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari by an accountability court in a corruption reference. Public prosecutor of NAB approached the LHC Rawalpindi Bench challenging accountability court’s verdict of giving a clean chit to the former president in a corruption reference.

The corruption reference was filed against Zardari for acquiring assets through illegal means. The apex court may resume hearing in the case next week.

The prosecutor argued that NAB has some 22,000 verified documents as evidence against PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. The documents are related to offshore companies, Surrey Palace and bank accounts of former president, he added.

He said the most devastating aspect of the case was that the learned court laid down verdict in hast and did not allow prosecution to bring on record the more substantial evidences.

He mentioned the NAB has collected evidences from foreign country and a prosecution witness Rizwan Ahmed also testified before the accountability court.

The public prosecutor said the NAB found documentary evidences relating to the properties, bank accounts and other moveable and immoveable properties acquired by accused Asif Zardari abroad. He said the accused also failed to declare his assets and sources of income before the investigators.

PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari was acquitted by an accountability court judge Khalid Mehmood Ranjha in illegal assets reference against him on August 26.

Asif Zardari was accused of owning illegal assets in Pakistan as well as in other countries through illegal means. Farooq H Naik, counsel for Zardari, has filed an acquittal plea under section 256 of CrPc which was approved by the accountability court.

The judge, in his verdict, ruled that there is no legal basis of corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The court gave Asif Zardari a clean chit owing to lack of evidence against him.

In 2001, NAB has filed reference with accountability court accusing Zardari and his wife Benazir Bhutto of holding assets through illegal means. However, the reference was closed in 2007 after issuance of NRO by former military dictator and president General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, nonetheless, had ordered revival of the cases closed under the NRO in its verdict laid down in December 2009.

At that time, Asif Zardari was elected as president of Pakistan and therefore enjoyed immunity under article 248 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The NAB re-opened the asset reference in April 2015 but the proceedings could not take place because of absence of prosecution or defence lawyers.

In January 2016, the original record in the assets reference against former president Asif Zardari has gone missing from the custody of an accountability court.

NAB prosecutor had submitted an affidavit before the accountability court saying the bureau had provided the original case record to the court some 15 years ago, which had not been returned to NAB till to date. The court could not record the statements of witnesses due to non-availability of the case record and had ordered NAB to provide complete record of the case.

Earlier the accountability court had also acquitted Asif Ali Zardari in five other corruption references that included SGS, Polo Ground, Ursus Tractors, Cotecna and ARY Gold corruption references.

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acquittal plea under section 256 of CrPc which was approved by the accountability court.

The judge, in his verdict, ruled that there is no legal basis of corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The court gave Asif Zardari a clean chit owing to lack of evidence against him.

In 2001, NAB has filed reference with accountability court accusing Zardari and his wife Benazir Bhutto of holding assets through illegal means. However, the reference was closed in 2007 after issuance of NRO by former military dictator and president General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, nonetheless, had ordered revival of the cases closed under the NRO in its verdict laid down in December 2009.

At that time, Asif Zardari was elected as president of Pakistan and therefore enjoyed immunity under article 248 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The NAB re-opened the asset reference in April 2015 but the proceedings could not take place because of absence of prosecution or defence lawyers.

In January 2016, the original record in the assets reference against former president Asif Zardari has gone missing from the custody of an accountability court.

NAB prosecutor had submitted an affidavit before the accountability court saying the bureau had provided the original case record to the court some 15 years ago, which had not been returned to NAB till to date. The court could not record the statements of witnesses due to non-availability of the case record and had ordered NAB to provide complete record of the case.

Earlier the accountability court had also acquitted Asif Ali Zardari in five other corruption references that included SGS, Polo Ground, Ursus Tractors, Cotecna and ARY Gold corruption references.