Zardari granted immunity in NAB cases

Islamabad accountability court accepts president’s request for immunity

Our Correspondent May 11, 2024
President Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


An accountability court in Islamabad granted presidential immunity to the head of state, Asif Ali Zardari, in the Park Lane and Toshakhana corruption references on Saturday.

Judge Nasir Javed Rana of Islamabad Accountability Court-I issued a written order on the president’s petition, halting all proceedings against him.

The order noted that the president sought immunity as per Article 248(2) of the Constitution, following which neither any case can be registered against him nor any legal action can be taken against him.

It further added that the prosecution—the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)—also raised no objection to the president’s plea. Hence, it was approved, and case proceedings were halted until the end of Zardari’s tenure as the president of Pakistan.

In the Park Lane reference, NAB had accused Zardari of influencing relevant authorities during his first term as the president—from 2008 to 2013—to allegedly obtain loans for his front companies.

Read President claims immunity in Park Lane reference

Zardari allegedly received a loan of Rs1.5 billion released for Parthenon Private Limited “with ill intention”, and the money was later claimed to have been transferred for his personal use through fake bank accounts. The anti-graft buster had accused him of causing a loss of Rs3.77 billion to the national exchequer.

Earlier, on April 22, NAB had submitted a report to the accountability court, informing it that President Zardari has presidential immunity in the Thatta water supply case under Article 248(2) of the Constitution.

During the hearing, Zardari’s counsel maintained that his client enjoyed presidential immunity; therefore, the court could not continue proceedings against him. The court had later issued a notice to NAB seeking its arguments on the matter.

The water supply reference pertained to the special initiative department allegedly awarding the Thatta water supply scheme contract illegally to a private contractor.

In January 2023, an accountability court had returned a corruption reference against Zardari after amendments to NAB law.  On March 10, Zardari made history after his election as the country’s president for the second time.


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