IHC grants 15-day bail to Zardari in NY property case

Directs him to approach accountability court for further relief


Our Correspondent November 10, 2021
Former president Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted a 15-day protective bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari in the New York property case and directed him to approach the trial court.

A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq heard the bail plea of the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman.

Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed and Zardari's lawyer Farooq H. Naek appeared before the court.

The AGP adopted the stance that the accountability courts had been given powers to hear the bail cases under new amendments in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance and the petitioner should go to the relevant forum.

Farooq H Naek argued that the government had promulgated the third NAB Ordinance and more amendments were also expected.

Earlier, Chief Justice Minallah asked the attorney general where the cases and bail petitions would be shifted.

The AGP replied that the third ordinance was introduced to interpret some points related to money laundering crimes.

“Now the trial courts had been given powers to hear the bail cases of the accused,” he said.

The chief justice remarked that then this court could also shift these cases to the relevant forum as now it was cleared that the accountability courts had the authority to hear bail petitions.

Read IHC restrains AC from indicting Zardari

The AGP said the accountability courts could hear the bail cases even if the references were not filed related to the subject but crimes come under the jurisdiction of NAB.

Naek pleaded that his client had filed the bail petition under Article 199 of the Constitution instead of the NAB Ordinance. The law was silent pertaining to the matter, he said.

The AGP said the court could ask the petitioner to approach the relevant forum.

Justice Farooq remarked that NAB did not tell clear things about the matter and used to adopt the stance that it was taking instructions on the matter.

NAB Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Bharwana said this petition could not be transferred to the accountability court directly as the trial court had no authority to hear bail cases under Article 199.

However, a separate petition could be moved to the accountability court, he said.

Naek argued that the Sindh High Court used to grant protective bails in such matters before disposing of cases.

At this, the bench granted 15 days of protective bail to Zardari and instructed him to approach the trial court during the time.

(WITH INPUT FROM APP)

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