Nawaz declared absconder, warrants for Zardari in Toshakhana case
An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for former president Asif Ali Zardari and started the process to declare PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif an absconder in the Toshakhana reference.
During the hearing, the accountability court judge, Asghar Ali, said the former prime minister was not complying with the orders intentionally and the non-bailable arrest warrants had not been implemented.
Zardari, Nawaz and Yousaf Raza Gilani – another former prime minister – are the main accused in the case. The NAB has accused the first two of getting cars by paying only 15 percent of the price from Toshakhana (Treasure House) with the help of Gilani who was the prime minister at that time.
On Tuesday, the judge rejected the plea to exempt Zardari from appearing in person as his counsel Farooq H Naek argued the case. “I am a senior lawyer and I am telling the court that Asif Ali Zardari will be present at the next hearing,” he said.
Citing health concerns and the expected crowd if Zardari attends the hearing amid the coronavirus pandemic, Naek said the scenario would be dangerous.
But the judge said Zardari should appear before the court, as NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Muzaffar said the former president must not get any relief and called for issuing non-bailable arrest warrants.
Abbasi said even the counsel [Naek] didn’t appear before the court after Gilani got exemption from appearing in person.
However, Naek argued that the arrest warrants should be issued only if his client did not appear before the court. The former president is not fleeing the country, he remarked.
The accountability court had issued non-bailable warrants for Nawaz on June 11 in the Toshakhana reference over his continued absence after issuing bailable warrants on May 29. The PML-N supremo has avoided taking part in the process by not even nominating any lawyer in the case.
On the other hand, Zardari has not been attending the hearings while citing health reasons.