ISLAMABAD - Former president Asif Ali Zardari was ordered by an Accountability Court to appear for a graft hearing on October 29.

Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir heard the case.

The accountability court had reopened five references against Zardari on October 11 and summoned him before the court on October 14. As per NAB's prosecution division's report, Zardari is currently facing six references in accountability courts. Five references - SGS, Contecna, ARY, Polo ground and Ursus tractors deal - have been reopened. During proceedings, the Additional Deputy Prosecutor NAB told the court that Asif Zardari is not present in the country, that is why summon notices could not be delivered to him. As the notice was not received by Zardari, the court changed the hearing date.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Chaudhry Qamar Zaman was informally briefed by investigators on the status of pending cases on October 11, according to an official. Zaman was then officially briefed on October 12.

At the same time, the court had also summoned the bureau's prosecutor Karim Khan Agha, apart from the former president, and stated in its notice that Zardari's immunity to trial had ended after he stepped down as the country's president.

A NAB official had pointed out that no formal request had been made for reopening these references against Zardari and that the court had done so on its own.

However, he had added that the court had sought NAB's comments on the matter. "Before reopening the cases, the courts sought comments from the bureau's prosecution wing regarding the reopening of pending cases against the former president," an official was quoted as saying in a media report.

The hearing against the former president had earlier been postponed indefinitely on grounds that the president had immunity from prosecution, though the apex court had not recognised the same.