Asif Zardari not Indicted in Polo Ground Case


Islamabad: Former president and co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari was not inducted in Polo ground case during the hearing of five National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference against him in an accountably court in Islamabad on Thursday.

The hearing of the references has been adjourned till January 18 by the court.

The 58-year-old former president appeared before an anti-corruption court over multi-million-dollar graft allegations amid tight security.

The court had earlier decided to indict Zardari in Polo ground reference today but the indictment was deferred after his counsel Farooq H Naek pleaded the court to review court record and all the documents related to the case to examine that whether his client could be incited or not.

Naek requested the court to quash the cases as there is no solid evidence against his client. Zardari had earlier missed the three hearings, citing security concerns.

Zardari’s constitutional immunity as head of state kept the cases against him pending for five years.

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.

Polo ground case pertains to illegal construction of the polo ground and other ancillary facilities at Prime Minister House in Islamabad ignoring rules and procedure. Former Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Shafi Shahwani and ex-government official Saeed Mehdi and were co-accused in the case. Shahwani has passed away while Mehdi won acquittal from the court.

Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, under National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007, had withdrawn all the cases against Zardari but they were reopened after Supreme Court cancelled the controversial amnesty deal that facilitated as many as 8,000 people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