The court heard a reference case against Zardari and summoned witnesses in Polo Ground case on December 9.

The bench hearing the case, comprising of Justice Mohammad Bashir, also instructed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) again to provide Zardari's counsel with copies of the references filed against him.

During the hearing, Advocate Farooq H Naek, former Law Minister, assured the bench that the former president would appear in court for the next hearing of the case.

The court granted exemption to the former President from attending Tuesday's hearing as he was out of the country, and again issued a notice summoning Zardari to attend the next hearing of the case.

The references against the former president include SGS, Cotecna, ARY, polo ground and Ursus tractors.

Zardari, 58, stepped down from the post of President in September after a record five years in power. He became the first democratically elected president in the history of Pakistan to fully complete his constitutional tenure and be replaced by another elected individual.

His tenure was riddled with allegations of corruption and mismanagement. NAB has vowed to "vigorously" pursue the cases and the main opposition PPP has decided to vehemently defend Zardari.

The cases against Zardari were closed five years ago after the promulgation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance by then President Gen Pervez Musharraf. The Ordinance was struck down by the Supreme Court.

However, the NAB could not reopen the cases because Zardari became president and started enjoying immunity. The cases against Zardari contain charges of kickbacks and commission from SGS PSI Company for pre-shipment inspection, grant of a licence to ARY Gold causing losses to national exchequer and receipt of illegal gratification and commission in purchase of URSUS tractors under the Awami Tractor Scheme.

Another charges include illegal award of a contract to Cotecna for pre-shipment, possession of assets beyond means and receipt of kickbacks from Sajjad Ahmad, a former chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills.


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