Pakistan ex-president Zardari in court over graft cases

Photo: Pakistan ex-president Zardari in court over graft cases / Other News

Former Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday appeared before an anti-corruption court hearing cases dating from the 1990s, dpa reported.

He stands accused of corruption in five cases relating to when his late wife Benazir Bhutto was prime minister that were only reopened in October after he stepped down, losing his presidential immunity.

His lawyer Farook Naek told media that he has asked the court to quash the cases, calling them politically motivated and saying there was no evidence against Zardari.

The court set the next hearing for January 18.

Last week, another ex-president, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, failed to appear in court after complaining of chest pains on the way to court and being taken to a military hospital.

He faces charges of treason for declaring a state of emergency in 2007.

On Thursday, the special tribunal after reading the medical reports ordered Musharraf to appear on January 16, his lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri said.

Reports that the army may whisk him out of the country have led to accusations that civilian politicians are prosecuted while the former general is allowed to slip through the fingers of the judiciary.

"Victimisation of the elected representatives continues whereas the general (Musharraf) waits for his get-out-of-jail-free card," Zardari's youngest daughter Aseefa Zardari tweeted.

Former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of Zardari's Pakistan People's Party was removed from office by the Supreme Court in 2012 for failing to implement a court order relating to graft allegations.

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