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Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Zardari Ordered to Appear in Court on October 29

Islamabad: The National Accountability Court on Monday summoned former President Asif Ali Zardari on October 29 in relation to the reopened corruption cases.

58-year-old Zardari, whose constitutional immunity as head of state kept the cases against him pending for five years, had been ordered to appear for hearing on October 29 but the hearing date was changed by court today as he failed to receive the summon notice.

Today when the proceedings began, no representative of former president and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) appeared before the accountability court after which the bench, headed by Judge Muhammad Bashir, took a recess to wait for the response.

After the interval, Additional Deputy Prosecutor NAB informed court that the former president is not present in the country and summon notices couldn’t be delivered to him, upon which the court issued another summons for him to appear on October 29.

Taking suo moto notice, accountability court had reopened five NAB references – including SGS, Cotecna, ARY, polo ground and Ursus tractors against Zardari, stating his immunity to trial concluded with him stepping down from the presidency.

Zardari last month became the first democratically elected president complete his five-year constitutional term and hand over the reins to another democratically elected president.

Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, under National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007, had withdrawn all the cases against Zardari but they were reopened after Supreme Court cancelled the controversial amnesty deal that facilitated as many as 8,000 people including political leaders and businessmen.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has expressed displeasure over the absence of officials from hearing and directed the authorities to ensure the implementation of the court’s order.

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