SC issues notice to NAB chairman over Zardari’s graft cases transfer plea

Hearing of case has been adjourned for a month


Hasnaat Malik January 27, 2021
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal over former president Asif Zardari's application regarding the transfer of graft cases against him from Islamabad’s accountability court to Karachi.

A three-judge apex bench led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard Zardari’s plea through former president’s Counsel Farooq H Naek.

“We have to review the circumstances under which the Supreme Court ordered to file the reference in Islamabad’s [accountability court]”, the court remarked.

The judge also referred SC January 7, 2009 judgment wherein the apex court had ordered to transfer all cases related to fake accounts from Karachi to Islamabad.

“Can't stop or change the decision of the court,” the Supreme Court stated.

Counsel Naek prayed upon the court that Under NAB law, it is a legal right to apply for transfer of case and that the legal right cannot be revoked by court order.

Justice Bandial remarked that the verdict mentioned several allegations which led to the case being filed in Islamabad [accountability court].

Read More: SC allows Zardari case transfer plea

Counsel Naek prayed the court to ask NAB if those allegations were still valid.

“NAB files reference in Islamabad on court's order,” Justice Bandial replied asking whether references against Asif Zardari have ever been filed in Islamabad before.

To this, Zardari’s counsel said that references were filed in Lahore and Rawalpindi whereas one was also heard in Attock Fort.

“Asif Zardari has been acquitted in all cases in the past,” the counsel added.

Giving notice to chairman NAB, the apex court adjourned the proceedings for a month. The court also issued notices to all the accused including Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur.

On January 10, the top court overruled its registrar office’s objections to an application of former president to transfer corruption cases filed against him in accountability courts of Islamabad to similar courts in Karachi, where Zardari has a permanent residence.

In its two pages order, a three-judge bench led by Justice Bandial noted that the points raised by Zardari’s counsel in his application require “judicial application of mind”. “Therefore, the objections raised by the registrar ought to be decided by the court. Accordingly, the said objections are overruled.

“Let the CMAs [civil miscellaneous appeals] be numbered and fixed in the court after winter vacations. These miscellaneous appeals are accordingly allowed,” said the order authored by Justice Bandial.

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