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President Zardari gets immunity in Park Lane, Toshakhana references

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ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad granted on Saturday presidential immunity to head of state Asif Ali Zardari in the Park Lane and Toshakhana references. 

Accountability court Judge Nasir Javed Rana issued a written decision on the president’s petition and halted all proceedings against Zardari. 

The judgment noted that the president sought immunity as per Article 248 (2) of the Constitution, following which no case can be registered or action taken against the petitioner.

The written order further added that the prosecution raised no objection to the president’s plea, hence it was approved and case proceedings were halted until the end of Zardari’s tenure as president of Pakistan.

The Park Lane case accused Zardari of influencing relevant authorities during his tenure as the president – from 2008 to 2013 – to allegedly obtain loans for his front companies.

Zardari allegedly received a loan of Rs1.5 billion released for Parthenon Private Limited “with ill intention”, and the money was later claimed to have been transferred for his personal use through fake bank accounts.

The anti-graft buster accused him of causing a loss of Rs3.77 billion to the national exchequer.

Earlier on April 22, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted a report to an accountability court informing it that President Zardari has presidential Immunity in Thatta water supply case under Article 248 of the Constitution.

During the hearing, Zardari’s counsel maintained that his client enjoyed presidential immunity, therefore, proceedings against him could not be carried out.

The court issued notice to NAB seeking its arguments on the matter and adjourned the hearing of the case till today.

The water supply reference pertains to the special initiative department allegedly illegally awarding the Thatta water supply scheme contract to a private contractor.

In January 2023, an accountability court returned a corruption reference against Zardari after amendments to NAB law.