ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted 15-day protective bail to former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the New York property case.
The IHC conducted the hearing of Asif Ali Zardaris bail plea in a case related to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation into the New York property of the former president. During the hearing, the NAB amendment ordinance 1 and 2 were presented to the high court.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked, The fourth NAB amendment ordinance has arrived so far or not.To this, the NAB prosecutor said that the third ordinance has arrived. The attorney general said that the accountability court has to grant bail under the new ordinance.
Justice Aamer Farooq questioned whether the accused could move to the high court for getting pre-arrest or post-arrest bails. The attorney general said that the NAB court has powers to grant pre-arrest or post-arrest bail. The attorney general added that the NAB ordinance was only introduced in the National Assembly.
IHC CJ Justice Athar Minallah remarked that it is mandatory to present the ordinance in both houses of the Parliament under Article 89 of the Constitution.
Later, the high court extended interim bail of Asif Ali Zardari for 15 days besides ordering him to secure the bail from the concerned court.
The NAB had served Zardari a notice along with a questionnaire to provide information about his Belair apartment, 524 East 72nd Street, 37F, Manhattan, New York, United States. He had subsequently obtained pre-arrest bail from the Islamabad High Court to avoid his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
However, Asif Ali Zardari denied owning the expensive apartment in Manhattan. I had sold out the apartment the same year I purchased it, the sources quoted him as saying in the reply he filed through his lawyers.
Files plea for acquittal in references
Former president Asif Ali Zardari has filed plea for his acquittal in more accountability references against him under the 2nd NAB amendment ordinance. Zardari has submitted pleas for his acquittal in Park Lane, mega money laundering and Thatta Water Supply references in the accountability court here.
The court has issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over the petitions from the former president and sought its reply over the matter.
The accountability bureau informed the court that it has yet to receive gazette notification of the third amended ordinance of the NAB. The courts work being affected due to absence of the gazette notification, the accountability judge said.
Zardari has also filed a petition for his acquittal under the Toshakhana reference. The NAB prosecutor pleaded to the court to reject acquittal plea of the former president.
It is to be mentioned here that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has restrained the accountability court from indicting Asif Ali Zardari in Rs8 billion suspicious bank transactions case.
A division bench of the high court in its written verdict has restrained the accountability court from framing charges against Zardari in suspicious transaction of Rs 8.3 billion reference. The court summoned reply from NAB on Zardaris petition by Nov. 18 and adjourned further hearing of the case.