A special accountability Court in Rawalpindi on Saturday acquitted Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday in a reference filed against him some 16 years ago for allegedly possessing illegal assets.
Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek requested for acquittal of Zardari and Justice Khalid Mahmood Ranjha National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court accepted it, who ruled that the reference lacked a legal basis. The judge noted that the reference filed by NAB was not maintainable as the evidence submitted by the watchdog was only photostat copies, which held no legal value.
The reference was filed before the accountability court in 2001, but was closed in 2007 under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) issued by the government of Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf.
However, the Supreme Court, in its verdict in the NRO case in December 2009, had ordered the revival of all cases closed under the ordinance. By then, however, it could not start a case against Zardari as he enjoyed immunity as president.
The case was again started in 2015 and finally decided in favour of Zardari. It was last of the six corruption cases against Zardari and he has been now acquitted in all of them.
Reacting to her father’s acquittal, Bakhtawar Bhutto tweeted, “while Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif hide from NAB, my father Asif Ali Zardari has been acquitted in the last pending case. He faced 11-year prison without a single conviction,” Bakhtawar said.
Meanwhile, PPP leaders congratulated Asif Ali Zardari following acquittal from bogus cases filed during the previous government. Zardari thanked them and said it was all the result of his patience and prayers of the poor and party activists. Zardari expressed these views while meeting party leaders in Islamabad on Saturday. Asif Zardari thanked all party leaders and workers on winning, what he called, “judicial war” PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari and PPPP’s Secretary General Senator Farhatullah Babar said those accusing him including Imran Khan, should face the truth now. He said they always respect law and will always do so.