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SC issues notice to NAB on Zardari’s plea for transfer of graft cases

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court issued on Wednesday a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a petition by former president Asif Ali Zardari seeking transfer of corruption cases filed against him in Islamabad’s accountability courts to Karachi.

An apex court bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, also issued notices to the PPP co-chairman’s sister Faryal Talpur and all other people nominated as accused along with Zardari in the graft references.

During the preliminary hearing today, the SC bench observed that it needs to determine under what conditions the top court ordered for filing of references in Islamabad. The SC’s Jan 7, 2019 verdict is final, which can neither be reversed nor implementation of it stalled.

Zardari’s lawyer Farooq H Naek contended that it’s his client’s right to file a plea for transfer of a case under the NAB law, which couldn’t be taken away by the court through the verdict.

Justice Bandial noted that the cases were filed in Islamabad by the NAB on the basis of various accusations. He said the corruption watchdog filed the references in Islamabad on the court order.

The SC judge asked if Asif Ali Zardari had references filed against him in Islamabad in the past, to which the counsel replied that references were instituted against his client in Lahore and Rawalpindi and one was even heard at Attock Fort. He said the former president got acquitted in all the cases in the past.

The hearing was adjourned for one month.

On November 3, Asif Ali Zardari approached the SC, requesting the court to transfer the graft cases filed against him by the NAB from Islamabad’s courts to similar courts in Karachi where he lives.

He stated in his plea that he can’t appear in accountability courts in Islamabad due to his illness as he was suffering from various ailments and had been critically ill. He said the cases were being heard in Islamabad courts despite the fact that all the accused persons, witnesses and documents are from Karachi.

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