Notices issued to Zardari`s parents in corruption case

A Pakistani court has issued notices to President Asif Ali Zardari`s parents.

Lahore: A Pakistani court has issued notices to President Asif Ali Zardari`s parents in connection with a case registered by anti-corruption agency the National Accountability Bureau.

A division bench of the Lahore High Court issued the notices while disposing off an application by NAB for restoring its appeal against the acquittal of Hashim Babar, former director of the Military Lands and Cantonment Board and Zardari`s parents Hakim Ali Zardari and Zareen Ara Zardari.

The bench, during a hearing yesterday, observed there is no need to pass a formal order for the revival of the case that was earlier dismissed under the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a controversial graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The bench said all cases scrapped under the NRO stood automatically revived after the Supreme Court of Pakistan annulled the graft amnesty last year.

Hashim Babar and Zardari`s parents were the accused in a case filed by NAB regarding the alleged illegal allotment of a plot of land. However, an anti-corruption court had acquitted them and NAB subsequently challenged their acquittal in the Lahore High Court.

Following the promulgation of NRO in late 2007, the High Court dismissed NAB`s appeal in April 2008. NAB recently approached the High Court for the revival of its dismissed appeal.

The division bench ruled that in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the appeal against the three accused stood revived to its position before April 2008.

"So there is no need to pass any formal order for revival of criminal appeal because under Article 189 of the Constitution, all judgements of the apex court are binding on all subordinate courts," the bench said in its order.

According to NAB, Hashim Babar was allegedly involved in allotting a plot of land near Ayub National Park in Islamabad to Hakim Ali Zardari, the former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, and his wife Zareen Ara.

NAB alleged that the Cantonment Board had declined permission for setting up a petrol pump on the land for security reasons but Babar favoured Zardari`s parents by accepting their appeal in this regard though the petrol pump was never built. NAB alleged that Babar misused his powers by allowing the construction of a petrol pump on government land.

Since it scrapped the NRO, the Supreme Court has been pressing the federal government to revive corruption cases against the President. The government has refused to take action in this regard, saying Zardari has immunity from prosecution by virtue of holding the post of President.