ISLAMABAD - Former president Asif Ali Zardari’s lawyer Farouk H Naek on Tuesday raised several questions before accountability court on merits of Park Lane corruption reference against his client and requested the court to dismiss it.

During this day hearing, Zardari’s counsel Farouk H Naek argued that the case was related to two companies including Parthenon Pvt and Park Lane in accordance of NAB’s documents. The property of Park Lane was mortgaged against the loan taken by Parthenon Company, he said.

The Summit Bank, he said, had filed a case in banking court for recovery of this loan on non-payment of the money. This case had been filed before an inquiry and reference of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Naek pleaded that the NAB had filed a supplementary reference against Asif Zardari on November 12, 2019, adding willful default was committed by Parthenon Company not by his client. He said the registrar of any company would be responsible of default in accordance with Company Ordinance 1984.

NAB alleges Asif had influenced bank as president of Pakistan

Zardari’s lawyer said there was no banking complaint in this case. He pleaded that NAB was not authorized to move a reference pertaining to the default of bank loans rather State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was entitled to do this.

He said the loan was given by National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Arif Habib Bank but no one had been named as accused from these banks in NAB reference. Later, the Summit Bank had acquired the Arif Habib Bank, he said.

The NAB, he said, had alleged Asif Zardari to influence the bank as president of Pakistan. He said that Zardari was not director of Park Lane Company in accordance with NAB’s own documents when the loan was taken, adding his client was not involved in illegal practice.  He further argued that NAB law didn’t apply in this case; adding loan was given to Parthenon not to Asif Zardari.

The loss was caused to bank not to the national exchequer in accordance with the reference, he said, adding the banking court had two powers related to civil and criminal cases. No any institution except banking court was authorized to hear default related cases, he claimed. NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the whole management of Parthenon belonged to Park Lane, adding this company did not have its own office address.

Abbasi said this company had not done any work except taking loans, and later such money was identified in fake accounts. This was a white collar crime, he added. Naek said that Zardari had resigned from Park Lane Company as its director in 2009 before taking oath of president office. His client was not a director of Park Lane when Parthenon took loan, he added. Later, the court adjourned hearing of the case till July 21, on request of Farouk H Naek and directed him to conclude arguments on next hearing.