Zardari’s acquittal in assets reference case challenged

(web esk) – The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has challenged former president and Pakistan People’s Part Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s acquittal in a case filed against him in 1998 accusing him of making and maintaining assets beyond his known sources of income.

The NAB in its appeal to the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the special accountability court’s August 26 verdict has stated that Zardari was acquitted on the basis of technical flaws and key witnesses were ignored in the case proceedings.

Zardari, who left office in 2013, faced corruption allegations involving Swiss banks dating back to the 1990s. He was accused along with his late wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, of laundering $12 million of illegal kickbacks.

The court, which has held hearings in Lahore and Rawalpindi since 1998, recorded statements from more than 40 witnesses.

“It has now become abundantly clear that the allegations against my client were fake and there were no solid grouds for filing a baseless case against him 19 years ago,” lawyer Farooq H. Naik said.

Zardari has spent time behind bars on charges ranging from corruption to murder.

Little-known at the time of his arranged marriage into the Bhutto dynasty in 1987, he carved out a powerful position for himself, serving as a government minister in his wife’s two administrations.

(with inputs from agencies)