Polo ground case: Accountability court acquits Asif Ali Zardari

Published: May 28, 2014

Former president Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Wednesday acquitted former president and co-chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari in the polo ground case, Express News reported.

On May 20, the court had reserved its judgment on Zardari’s acquittal plea, regarding five corruption references. The former president is facing five references filed by NAB 17 years ago, including the Ursus tractors deal, the ARY case, the polo ground case, and the Cotecna and SGS cases.

The bench had reserved its judgment after Zardari’s counsel, Farooq H Naek, had concluded his argument. In October 2013, the same bench had reopened graft cases against the former president after his presidential immunity expired.

In his concluding arguments, Naek maintained that not a single witness testified against Zardari. The counsel had claimed that the record submitted by the prosecution were not genuine, as they were photocopies and have no legal significance.

Naek had argued that the references were filed against Zardari under the Ehtasab Act promulgated in the previous Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) regime under which maximum punishment even in offences of serious nature was not more than seven years.

Five references:

Polo ground 

The reference is related to the illegal construction of the polo ground and other ancillary works at the Prime Minister House when Benazir Bhutto was the PM.  In this case, the court had acquitted Saeed Mehdi, while the case against Shafi Sehwani, a former Capital Development Authority chairman, was withdrawn following his death.

SGS

In the SGS reference filed in 1997, it was alleged that Bhutto and her spouse had received kickbacks in a pre-shipment contract between the government and SGS. The court had court absolved all the accused except Zardari.

ARY case

The grant of licences to ARY Traders for import of gold and silver allegedly caused losses to the public exchequer, amounting to approximately Rs18.2 million.

Ursus tractors deal

Another reference, which pertains to the Ursus tractors deal, alleged misappropriation in the purchase of 5,900 Russian and Polish tractors for the Awami Tractor Scheme.

The court had acquitted the co-accused, Nawab Yousuf Talpur and AH Kango. The Ursus tractors purchase deal allegedly caused a loss of Rs268.3 million to ADBP and Rs1.67 billion to the State Bank of Pakistan.

Cotecna

This case involved the award for a contract for supervising pre-shipment at a Karachi port. The contract was allegedly awarded to the Swiss company Cotecna in exchange for a bribe during former prime minister Bhutto’s second term. Bhutto and her husband were accused of taking six per cent of the revenue stream the Swiss company expected on the $131 million contract.

Reader Comments (21)

  • titan
    May 28, 2014 - 1:05PM

    Thank God or else democracy would have been derailed. !

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  • titan
    May 28, 2014 - 1:11PM

    Thank God or else democracy would have been derailed !

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  • Shahriyar
    May 28, 2014 - 1:17PM

    Corruptionistan

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  • Parvez
    May 28, 2014 - 1:19PM

    …….DOES THAT MAKE HIM LESS CORRUPT ?…….it just proves the impotence of our accountability system.

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  • M Usama Kabbir
    May 28, 2014 - 1:34PM

    A sea of patience and resilienc. Respect. Asif Ali Zardari. Jiye Bhutto !

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  • Hasan Hasni
    May 28, 2014 - 1:58PM

    Are we surprised? This call democracy in my beloved country

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  • salim
    May 28, 2014 - 2:31PM

    The bond between both big parties grows ever so stronger.Recommend

  • observer
    May 28, 2014 - 2:37PM

    great news,congratulation ..Pakistan has become corrupt free country..

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  • The Whole Truth
    May 28, 2014 - 3:11PM

    Why I donot have the courage to make money the way our leaders are making it. Why?Recommend

  • Salman
    May 28, 2014 - 3:13PM

    Imran Khan is so right, its all Muk Muka. Noor League and Asif Zardari bhai bhai :)

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  • Azmat Khan
    May 28, 2014 - 4:15PM

    Hearty congrats Zardari.You are lion hearted and our pride.Just ignore your opponents.

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  • WS
    May 28, 2014 - 4:52PM

    This a triumph for democracy in Pakistan. There is no concept of accountablity in Pakistan.

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  • goldconsumer
    May 28, 2014 - 6:01PM

    @M Usama Kabbir:
    Yea, corruption is not a crime. Its an attitude. A way of life. And life requires patience to live on with..

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  • A2Z
    May 28, 2014 - 7:22PM

    White-collar crimes

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  • Munawar Ali Rind
    May 28, 2014 - 7:42PM

    Dear Express Tribune editorial

    Please rectify your record regarding name of MNA Nawab Yousuf Talpur. Your mentioning of loss is illogical and way far from the fact. The respectable court has alreadt acquitted him and found no evidence of corruption against him. You have mentioned figures relating to accusations which are already false, baseless and fabricated accusations along with his acquittal.

    Awami Tractors Scheme had revolutionized the agriculture sector in those days when its productions and systems were further mechanized by bringing in thousands of tractors resultatnly enhancing total average out of the agriculture product after introduction of scheme and generating continuous huge revenues contributing to national GDP. This scheme was launched through open bidding and companies from China and Russia participated. Each tractor priced Rs. 300,000 at that time, but given open competition, Russia provided those tractors at price of Rs. 150,000 and this amount was directly paid by the purchaser/farmer. There was no penny of the ministry/treasury involved in the purchasing except that of logistics and facilitation.

    I specially request you to correct the report which, in its current form, implies and makes the respectable MNA as convict from just being accused.

    We will be thankful to you for this correction.

    Regards
    Munawar Ali Rind, Islamabad/Umerkot.

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  • kamran Khan
    May 28, 2014 - 8:46PM

    I wonder how would he get acquitted in God’s court for answering his deeds that destroyed the lives of millions?

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  • Ishrat salim
    May 28, 2014 - 11:13PM

    We are probably the only country where we have the weakest prosecutors with weak investigation unit. Under this circumstances what else we can expect…?

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  • Ahmed Ahsan
    May 28, 2014 - 11:43PM

    It is just plain disappointment seeing all the comments above. When the very same Courts were giving Zardari and Company they were honorable when they acquit him they are muk-muka?

    PTI followers are welvome to criticise Courts and Judiciary but they should apologize to PPP for Judicial interference during past five years.

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  • John
    May 29, 2014 - 4:34AM

    Totally impressed by the resume of corruption party’s chairman.Who says merit isn’t followed in corruption party.

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  • Aliya
    May 29, 2014 - 9:55PM

    Hence proved that all the cases against Asif Ali Zardari were politically motivated, yet he spent 11 precious years of his life behind bars. I think Asif Ali Zardari has faced his turn now it’s the time of Mian Brothers. They should face the music. Court should open Ittefaq foundry case along with Hudabia paper mill case. They should reap what they sowed against PPP.

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  • Rizwan
    May 30, 2014 - 9:52PM

    So much for all those that cried corruption for years and years. Actually, these cases may have benefited PPP opponents politically but union of ex-CJP and some other powerful actors (one media group, for example) against PPP did huge damage to the country in the last 5 years as the last government was not allowed to do something for resolving power crises.

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