ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the Park Lane reference has decided to indict former president Asif Ali Zardari via video link on July 6 after the PPP leader did not appear for the hearing on Friday.
The accountability court had summoned the former president to appear before the court for his indictment. However, Zardari’s lawyer Farooq H Naek told the court that it is difficult for his client to travel and he was at risk of contracting the coronavirus and was at danger, considering he was of age.
Naek reminded the court that former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani appeared before a court recently and contracted COVID-19. To which Justice Azam Khan replied,”You are also attending the session. Do you not value your life? If you are presenting yourself then you can also call Asif Ali Zardari.”
The court then decided that the former president will be indicted via video link and set the date of the proceeding on July 6. The judge instructed the National Accountability Bureau to make arrangements for filing the charges against Zardari.
Earlier this month, the court had deferred the reference till June 26, today.
During the last hearing, Zardari’s lawyer Farooq H Naik submitted exemption pleas on behalf of the former president and his sister Faryal Talpur from appearing before the court due to the prevalent coronavirus situation in the country.
To this Judge Azam Khan had said that social distancing would be maintained in the courtroom.
Naik had said that due to a large number of lawyers present in the courtroom, maintaining social distance would not be possible.
However, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor had said that copies of the reference have been submitted and the court should charge the accused. He added that arrangements have been made for the video statement of Omni Group chief Anwar Majeed.
“Coronavirus has spread in the country and older people are likely to be more infected with the virus,” Naik had told the court. “Both Zardari and his sister are over 60-years-old.”
In response, the accountability court had said that if the accused could not appear, they can record their video statement.