PPP's Qasim Zia enters plea bargain, granted bail by LHC

Published September 23, 2015
NAB prosecutor tells LHC Zia has agreed to return the money, Rs22.2mn, which he had embezzled through plea bargain. —Online/File
NAB prosecutor tells LHC Zia has agreed to return the money, Rs22.2mn, which he had embezzled through plea bargain. —Online/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday accepted the bail application of senior PPP leader Qasim Zia, in a fraud case pertaining to Rs80 million.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on August 8 had arrested Zia, who is also an Olympics gold medalist and former president of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), on charges of committing fraud through his brokerage house.

Read: NAB arrests PPP's Qasim Zia in fraud case

A two-member bench of LHC comprising Justice Mehmood Maqbool Bajwa and Justice Farrukh Gulzar heard the bail plea filed by Zia and ordered his release while accepting the application.

During the hearing, NAB additional deputy prosecutor general Arif Mehmood Rana informed the court that Zia had agreed to return the money which he had embezzled as a director of Ali Usman Securities through a plea bargain.

The accused had filed an application to return Rs22.2 million of appropriated money in the Rs80 million scandal, he said.

The NAB official added that Zia's plea bargain application has been approved by Chairman NAB Qamar Zaman Chaudhry.

Rana said that Zia had already submitted a bank draft of Rs8 million, hence NAB has no objection over his release.

If the accused fails to abide by the agreement, NAB reserves the right to arrest him again, the prosecutor added.

After hearing the arguments, the bench ordered the release of Qasim Zia against a surety bond of Rs100,000. Zia was later released from the camp jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier, Dawn newspaper reported that Zia through his counsel stated in the bail petition that he had left the company “Ali Usman Brokerage” seven years before it committed the alleged fraud. The counsel said NAB officials kept his client in custody for 16 days but failed to establish his involvement in the scam. He said the case was a result of mere political victimisation.

The PPP had protested over the arrest of Zia, terming it political victimisation. PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had termed the arrest of Zia a “calculated move to discredit political leaders”.

Know more: PPP smells a rat in cases against Qasim, Bangash

Zia functioned as Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly during his earlier term from 2002-2007.

He was appointed president of Pakistan Hockey Federation in 2008 and served as the federation's chief till 2013. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist in the field of hockey, and also remained a member of the Pakistan's national hockey team from 1980-87.

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