ISLAMABAD : Accountability court on Monday has indicted Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari in National Accountability Bureau‘s (NAB) Park Lane reference. During the hearing on video link, the PPP leader has pleaded not guilty in the case and asked the judge to write in the order that there was no defence counsel over which, the judge said that you don‘t need lawyer for listening to the accusations listed in the charge sheet. Asif Zardari joined the indictment proceedings via video link from Bilawal House Karachi, Anwar Majeed from a hospital in Karachi while three other accused, Farooq Abdullah, Hanif, and Saleem Faisal joined the video link proceedings from Karachi.
The hearing was conducted by AC Judge Azam Khan. Asif Ali Zardari, Anwar Majeed along with nine accused were indicted in the reference via video link hearing. “I am bearing cases against me for 20 years,” Zardari told the court. The accused refused to accept charge sheet and termed it baseless. Earlier, the court had rejected Zardari’s request for withdrawal of plea seeking acquittal and dismissal of the case. Former president’s petition challenging jurisdiction of the court to hear this matter was also rejected. The accountability judge assured to wrap up the reference as per law. In December 2019, former president Asif Ali Zardari was released on medical grounds after an accountability court in Islamabad issued separate robkars [mandamuses] in the Park Lane Estate Company and the money laundering through fake bank accounts cases against him. The charges in the latest case centre around allegations Zardari laundered vast sums of money through suspect bank accounts and companies. NAB is conducting investigations in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references. Zardari has repeatedly dismissed allegations he had a hand in the scheme. Never popular and always shrouded in controversy, Zardari — who was once jailed for 11 years for corruption — stepped down from the president s office in 2013. But he has continued to serve as co-chairman of the opposition PPP.