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Thursday, June 6, 2024

NAB to withdraw appeals in 25-year-old corruption cases against Asif Ali Zardari

The NAB has said that the available record against Asif Zardari is not ‘sufficient’ and pleading the cases will be an exercise of wasting time.

In a major development, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to withdraw appeals in corruption cases registered against PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari 25 years ago.

According to the details, the NAB had challenged the acquittal of the former president in four cases including Ursus Tractors, SGS-Cotecna, and Polo Ground cases. Now, it has filed a plea in the Islamabad High Court seeking the withdrawal of four appeals against Asif Ali Zardari.

The NAB has said that the available record against Asif Zardari is not ‘sufficient’ and the relevant evidence is also in the form of photostat copies. Pleading the cases will be an exercise of wasting time, the NAB said in its plea submitted to the IHC.

Read more: 7 Facts About Zardari’s Case

Needless to say, the legal victory of another one of its rivals is not being taken kindly by PTI. In this regard, PTI leader Shireen Mazari claimed only PML-N supreme leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s acquittal is left.

“Another corrupt political mafia leader whitewashed! Conspirators have delivered commitments made to cabal of crooks they brought to power. Only Nawaz is left to be whitewashed! Now conspirators must deliver commitments made to the US! Pakistan is already weakened to that end!” Shireen Mazari said.

Corruption charges against Asif Zardari

Ursus tractors reference pertained to alleged misappropriation in the purchase of 5,900 Russian and Polish tractors at a cost of Rs150,000 each, for the then Awami Tractor Scheme. Zardari is one of the main accused along with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, however, her name had been deleted from the reference after her death in 2007. The Ursus tractors purchase deal allegedly caused a loss of Rs268.3 million to ADBP and Rs1.67 billion to the State Bank of Pakistan.

The second reference pertained to the alleged grant of licenses to ARY Traders for the import of gold which silver caused losses to the public exchequer, amounting to approximately Rs18.2 million.

Read more: Corruption & Pakistan: Only one thing can stay

The polo ground reference is related to the illegal construction of the polo ground and other ancillary works at the Prime Minister’s House when Benazir Bhutto was the PM.

In the SGS reference filed in 1997, it was alleged that Bhutto and her spouse, Asif Zardari had received kickbacks in a pre-shipment contract between the government and SGS.