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July 1, 2020

Toshakhana case: AC issues Zardari’s bailable arrest warrant

National

July 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrant for former president Asif Ali Zardari and initiated the process to declare former premier Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender in Toshakhana reference.

The judge resumed hearing in the Toshakhana reference against Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Yousaf Raza Gilani. During hearing, the NAB prosecutor submitted a report to the court stating that the Bureau had forwarded arrest warrant for Sharif, who was in London, through the Foreign Office.

The court remarked that Nawaz was not joining the trial proceedings intentionally and issued directives for starting the process to declare him a proclaimed offender for his perpetual absence from the hearing.

Representing Zardari, Senator Farooq H Naek moved an application requesting the court to exempt his client from personal appearance in Tuesday’s hearing due to the coronavirus fears. He said Zardari, being a senior citizen, could not turn up because of the pandemic.

“This is a criminal case and Zardari will have to show up,” the judge observed, asking if the former president had been diagnosed with the disease.

Naek replied that people will converge on the court because of the PPP leader’s appearance, putting not only themselves, but also the PPP leader at the potential risk of catching the virus.

The NAB prosecutor said it was up to the administration to prevent people from gathering and requested the judge not to give any concession to the former president and sought his arrest warrant. He said the court exempted Yousuf Raza Gilani from personal appearance due to which his lawyer did not even turn up before the court, and requested the court to withdraw the exemption granted to him.