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Zardari moves court for acquittal in graft cases

Posted on Jan 18 2014 | IANS

Islamabad, Jan 18 : Pakistan's former president Asif Ali Zardari Saturday moved a court here seeking acquittal in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references against him.

Zardari's chief defence counsel Farooq H. Naek filed the petitions in five references before the Accountability Court, Dawn online reported.

On Jan 9, Zardari appeared before the court for the first time since he retired in September 2013, but the court adjourned the hearing until Jan 18.

During the hearing, Naek urged his client's acquittal in the corruption references.

Naek said the former president could not be charged in the cases. He said there was no evidence in the references against Zardari that could see him indicted.

The NAB ordered reopening of corruption cases against the former president in October 2013, a few weeks after he stepped down on completion of his five-year persidential term.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Naek claimed that the reference regarding the construction of a polo ground in the Prime Minister House against Zardari was only an allegation and that nothing could be proved.

Zardari, who is also the co-chairman of the main opposition Pakistan People's Party, never appeared before the court when he held office due to his immunity as the president and security issues.

He faces cases related to favouritism, misuse of power during his party's governance when his slain wife Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister, and allegedly receiving kickbacks while awarding government contracts.

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