Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Pakistan: Ex-president Asif Zardari, sister to be indicted in money laundering, fake accounts case

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The Accountability Court of Islamabad on Thursday set October 4, 2019 as the date to indict former president and co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, member of Sindh Assembly, in money laundering cases.

During the hearing, Zardari was presented before Judge Mohammad Bashir who asked whether he had received copies of the case.

Asif Zardari replied he had not seen the copies yet. The court then issued him copies of the reference. Faryal Talpur was not produced before the court as she is currently attending Sindh Assembly session.

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Asif Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek told the court that despite its orders, neither air conditioner nor fridge were provided in his client’s cell. Instead, ice bags were provided which amounts to contempt of court, he said.

Later speaking to the media, Zardari condemned arrest of PPP senior leader and Member of the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah.

He said jails and lockups were not new for the PPP and the government could perhaps arrest more people from his party.
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“We are ready to face jails but we will never compromise on democracy or democratic norms,” Zardari said.

He said the government might arrest everyone including Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah. “We do not need production orders to attend the National Assembly session,” he said adding, he was feeling comfortable without it.

Fake accounts case

In May this year, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted details of its investigation against former president Asif Ali Zardari in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and established his role in at least 8 cases pertaining to money laundering through fictitious bank accounts.

The development was revealed in a report submitted by NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzzaffar Ahmed Khan and was also sent to Zardari’s defence team.

The anti-graft watchdog is conducting investigations in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references.

PPP lawmaker Faryal Talpur, Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed and his sons, and former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson Hussain Lawai are among others being investigated in the case.

In the report, NAB has submitted there are at least 22 inquiries and three investigations underway while three references have been filed in the fake accounts case.

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