ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday deferred the indictment of former president and co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari in the Park Lane reference till June 26.
As the hearing of the case resumed, the defense submitted exemption pleas on behalf of the former president and his sister, Faryal Talpur, from appearance due to the coronavirus situation in the country. To which, Judge Azam Khan remarked that social distancing will be maintained in the courtroom.
However, the defense said that due to the presence of a large number of lawyers in the courtroom, social distancing will be difficult to ensure.
“Coronavirus has spread in the country and older people are likely to be more infected with the virus,” the defense told the court, recalling: “Both Zardari and his sister are over 60 years of age.”
Responding to the excuse, the court said that if the accused could not appear, they can record their video statement.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor informed the court that arrangements have been made for the video statement of Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed. To which, Majeed’s counsel Latif Khosa maintained that despite the recording of the statement, Majeed could not be charged until he personally appears before the court.
However, the NAB prosecutor said that Majeed could be marked present if a judicial representative was present with him.
The NAB prosecutor further said that all the requirements have been met in the aforementioned case and that the date of the indictment should be fixed soon so that the trial can proceed.
Subsequently, the court granted Zardari and Talpur exemption from appearing before the court and fixed June 26 for indictment and adjourned the hearing till July 7.