ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday deferred the indictment of former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani in the Toshakhana reference till 9th September.
The former president turned up in court wearing a face mask as accountability judge Asghar Ali resumed hearing. Zardari’s lawyer Farooq H Naek complained that they faced immense difficulty reaching court due to barriers and check posts erected by the police along the route. The accountability judge said he would take up the matter with the administration to prevent such a situation in future.
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his sister Aseefa Bhutto and some party leaders also reached the accountability court to show solidarity with the former president. The party leadership had instructed members of the Parliament and People’s Lawyers Forum to reach Islamabad.
The judge halted the process to declare former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender over his perpetual absence from the court’s proceedings in the case until Aug 25 after he was informed that the PML-N supreme leader’s arrest warrants have been challenged in the IHC.
The accountability court also summoned Omni Group owner Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, named in the case, to appear on the next hearing for indictment and directed all accused to furnish a surety bond of Rs2 million each.
Police blocked all roads leading to court by placing barriers and barbed wire as part of stringent security measures. The accountability court had summoned Zardari who reached Islamabad from Karachi on Sunday. Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has been granted exemption from appearance in hearing of the reference.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has also been named in the reference, has challenged his summoning in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The anti-graft watchdog had filed a reference with the accountability court for not depositing luxury vehicles and valuable gifts received from the foreign leaders in the treasury. Zardari had received expensive cars as a gift from Libya and the UAE as president but did not deposit it in the depository.
The reference states that Zardari and Sharif obtained cars by paying 15 percent of the price of the cars and were facilitated by Gillani.
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