Zardari faces graft cases, court adjourns hearing

Islamabad, Jan 9: Pakistan’s former president Asif Ali Zardari Thursday appeared before an anti-corruption court here for the first time since he retired in September last year, but the court adjourned the hearing until Jan 18.

The former president appeared before Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir amid strict security measures with a heavy deployment of policemen around the court premises, the Dawn daily reported.

Zardari’s chief defence counsel Farooq H. Naek said he would file an application for exempting Zardari from personally appearing in the court.

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

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 in awards of government contracts.

IANS