Zardari Gets Immunity In Two Corruption Cases

Immunity granted in the Thatta Water Supply Project and Park Lane based on Article 248(2) of the Constitution

Zardari Gets Immunity In Two Corruption Cases

An accountability court in Islamabad on Saturday granted President Asif Ali Zardari immunity from further proceedings in two corruption cases which had been filed by the National Accountability Court (NAB).

These two corruption cases relate to alleged irregularities in the Thatta Water Supply Project and Park Lane. 

The court said that since Zardari has been elected to the President’s office, he enjoys constitutional immunity and thus, no criminal proceedings can be launched against him.

The court has further said that any pending criminal proceedings against Zardari have been stayed or paused until he leaves the office of the President.

Last month, President Zardari moved an application citing Article 248(2) of the Constitution, which states that no criminal proceedings can be launched or continued against a sitting President or governor.

The prosecutor in the case has neither objected to nor contested the application. Instead, the prosecutor concurred with the application's contents and raised no objections.

According to NAB, President Zardari allegedly influenced the relevant authorities during his first tenure to release loans to his alleged front companies, including Park Lane.

NAB claimed that President Zardari secured a loan of Rs1.5 billion for his front company, Parthenon Private Limited, with ill intention and that the money was allegedly later transferred for his personal use through fake bank accounts.

The water supply reference pertains to the alleged illegal award of a contract by the special initiative department for the water supply scheme, Thatta, to a private contractor, Harish & Co.

It is pertinent to mention here that Zardari also extended the immunity claim to two other cases regarding vehicles from the Toshakhana and fake bank accounts.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain