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Pakistan court to initiate day-to-day hearings against Zardari in illegal assets case

Pakistan court to initiate day-to-day hearings against Zardari in illegal assets case
Pakistan's outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari waves as he leaves after a farewell ceremony at the President House in Islamabad September 8, 2013. Zardari stepped down on Sunday at the end of his five-year term. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Lahore [Pakistan]: An accountability court in Rawalpindi on Thursday will initiate day-to-day proceedings against the Pakistan People’s Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari over his alleged illegal assets both in Pakistan and abroad.

In the reference, Zardari and his wife, the late Benazir Bhutto, had been accused of acquiring assets through illegal means.

The reference was filed before an accountability court in 2001 and was closed in 2007 under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), issued by the government of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, the Dawn has reported.

NAB prosecutor Tahir Ayub told the case was in its final stages, therefore, the court had decided to go for day-to-day hearings.

He expressed the hope that proceedings would be completed in the next few days, after which the court would pass a verdict.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict in the NRO case on December 2009, had ordered the revival of cases closed under the ordinance. By then, however,Zardari had been sworn in as president and therefore enjoyed acquired immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution.

NAB re-opened the assets reference in April 2015 as Zardari had completed his term office, and the former president was acquitted in five of the six references after a re-trial before the accountability court.

Zardari has faced a total of six corruption references; apart from the assets reference, the former president was also implicated in the SGS, Cotecna, Polo Ground, Ursus Tractors and ARY Gold corruption references and Farooq H. Naek is Zardari’s counsel.(ANI)