Islamabad, Jun 30 (PTI) An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Tuesday issued a bailable arrest warrant against former president Asif Ali Zardari for failing to appear before it in a 2008 luxury vehicles case.

Former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousuf Raza Gilani are also accused in the case.

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Representing Zardari, advocate Farooq Naek told the court that his client was of advanced age and appearance in the court could expose him to the novel coronavirus. Naek pleaded for his exemption but the court refused.

The court also rejected the plea that Zardari, 64, would appear once the COVID-19 situation improved.

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Issuing the bailable arrest warrant of Zardari, Accountability Court judge Asghar Ali adjourned the hearing till August 17.

Former prime minister Sharif who is in London on medical parole was also absent for the hearing. His arrest warrant was issued in an earlier hearing.

The court has ordered that the process to declare him as a proclaimed offender should be initiated.

Former premier Gilani was also absent but was exempted by the court from personal appearance as he is suffering from the coronavirus.

According to the charges, Zardari and Sharif received luxury vehicles from the Toshakhana (state treasure house) by paying 15 per cent of the price of the cars.

Gilani was the then prime minister and had allegedly relaxed rules on sale of items from Toshakhana to facilitate the transactions.

Gifts from foreign leaders and governments are deposited in the Toshakhana.

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