Nawaz, Zardari avoided court hearings

February 17, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf is not the only individual avoiding appearance in the court. There are other high-profile personalities as well, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari, who have remained absent from court proceedings a number of times.

Sources privy to the Ogra corruption reference claimed that former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who has been summoned by an accountability court on February 18, intends to seek exemption after putting in a one-time appearance.

On the same day former president Pervez Musharraf is to appear before the special court constituted to try him for high treason. The court had decided to indict him on December 24, but the retired general has been seeking exemption from every hearing on one pretext or another.

The special court expects that Pervez Musharraf will appear on February 18 as his counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan had assured the three-member bench that he would try to persuade the retired general to comply with its order.

Exactly a month before that date — January 18 — Zardari appeared before the accountability court in connection with five corruption references pending for over a decade.

The last time that Zardari appeared in the accountability court was in 2004. He then went abroad after obtaining bail.

The five corruption references were filed against Zardari 17 years ago. They are related to the Cotecna, Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), ARY Gold, Ursus tractors and polo ground cases.

In October last year, the accountability court had reopened proceedings against Zardari in compliance with the Supreme Court judgement passed in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case in Dec 2009.

In the judgement, the apex court had ordered revival of the cases which had been closed after promulgation of the NRO in 2007.