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ISLAMABAD: Accountability court on Wednesday rejected Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s plea seeking acquittal in mega money laundering, Park Lane and Thatta water supply references.

While announcing the reserved verdict, the court has directed to indict the PPP leader in all three references. The ex-president cannot be acquitted in fake bank accounts case, judge Azam Khan remarked.

Subsequently, all 28 accused including Asif Ali Zardari have been summoned on September 28.

Earlier, the court had reserved verdict on Asif Ali Zardari’s plea seeking acquittal in mega money laundering, Park Lane and Harish and Company references.

During the hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had requested to dispose of Zardari’s acquittal petition and continue case proceedings against him.

In December 2019, former president Asif Ali Zardari was released on medical grounds after an accountability court in Islamabad issued separate robkars [mandamuses] in the money laundering through fake bank accounts cases against him.

The charges in the latest case centre around allegations Zardari laundered vast sums of money through suspect bank accounts and companies.

NAB is conducting investigations in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references.

Zardari has repeatedly dismissed allegations he had a hand in the scheme. Never popular and always shrouded in controversy, Zardari -- who was once jailed for 11 years for corruption -- stepped down from the president s office in 2013. But he has continued to serve as co-chairman of the opposition PPP.