NAB acquits Asif Zardari in assets reference

RAWALPINDI (NNI): An accountability court in Rawalpindi Saturday acquitted former president Asif Ali Zardari of all references related to his alleged unlawful assets in Pakistan and abroad over lack of solid evidence.

Zardari was accused of holding assets in Pakistan as well as in abroad through illegal means. Judge Khalid Mehmood Ranjha had accepted the application seeking acquittal of the former president.

Speaking to media, Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek said that references filed against Asif Ali Zardari were politically motivated. “We thank to Almighty Allah for this victory,” he said.

In a Twitter statement, PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that the Court had honourably acquitted Asif Ali Zardari from all references. “He faced 12 years of collective jail with no conviction,” she added.

Earlier this month, the accountability court had reserved judgement on the petition seeking Zardari’s acquittal.

The court had conducted day-to-day proceedings on the application under section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the nearly two decade-old corruption reference filed in 2001 and later closed in 2007 under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), issued by the government of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf..

Ex-president Zardari and his late wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in the reference, had been accused of acquiring assets through illegal means.

Sources told that the former president has been bailed out of the case due to unavailability of strong evidence against him. Both Zardari and his wife Benazir Bhutto were accused of holding assets through illegal means. The reference was first filed in 2001. It was closed in 2007 under NRO and reopened afterwards.