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ISLAMABAD: Faryal Talpur — the sister of former president Asif Ali Zardari — on Saturday approached the Supreme Court seeking a restraining order against the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from ‘harassing, disparaging and defaming’ her as well as the reputation of her brother.

The applicant also requested the court to drop the fake accounts case that revolves around a 2015 inquiry into suspicious transactions when 29 ‘benami’ accounts were identified, 16 of them in the Summit Bank, eight in the Sindh Bank and five in the United Bank Limited.

Seven individuals were found involved in suspiciously transacting Rs35 billion. Hussain Lawai, former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and a close aide of Mr Zardari, and co-accused Taha Raza – head of the Summit Bank’s corporate unit – have been arrested in the case.

Seeks quashing of suspicious bank transaction case; removal of JIT head

Moved through senior counsel Farooq H. Naek, the application seeks directives for the FIA to remove Additional Director General of the agency Najaf Quli Mirza and appoint an ‘impartial officer’ as head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

The application also asks the court to order the FIA to submit a final challan before Special Court (Offences in Banks) Sindh at Karachi with respect to all accounts alleged to be fake in FIR 4/ 2018 within one month and in case beyond reasonable doubt was not made out, then close the case.

On July 6, the application recalls, FIA Assistant Director Muhammad Ali Abro had registered FIA No. 4 of 2018 at the FIA State Bank Circle, Karachi, alleging that Rs15 million was transferred in the accounts of M/S Zardari Group from an account of A-One International, sole proprietorship in the name of Tariq Sultan.

The application says that 10 persons were nominated in the FIR but the list did not contain the names of Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur.

Similarly the FIA report of July 11 as well as its FIR, which was furnished before the apex court, did not mention their names as accused, it says. In its order of July 12, the Supreme Court had ordered that only those persons named accused in the FIR be placed on the Exit Control List.

But, the application says, on July 21, Mr Abro furnished an interim charge sheet before the special court in which Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur were mentioned as absconding accused though it was common knowledge that Ms Talpur was contesting elections from the constituency of PS-10 Larkana whereas Asif Zardari was busy in running an election campaign in NA-213 Shaheed Benazirabad (Nawabshah).

Thus the two leaders were busy in their constituencies in connection with their election campaign and were available at all the times and that they were neither concealing nor hiding themselves in any manner whatsoever, the petition argues.

Thus the question of absconsion did not arise at all, the application says.

Ironically, the special court, it said, accepted the charge sheet through its order of July 21, Ms Talpur says in her application.

On July 27, Ms Talpur filed a bail before arrest application before the special court which granted him interim bail but Muhammad Abro issued another order of attendance directing her to appear before the JIT on July 28, the application says. Since Ms Talpur was busy before the special court regarding furnishing of surety and compliance of requirements, she told Mr Abro about her inability to appear before JIT.

The application pleads that both Ms Talpur and Asif Zardari are innocent since their names do not transpire in the FIR as accused persons but Mr Abro with mala fide intention and ulterior motives and without any lawful justification acted against them in order to harass, humiliate, disgrace, politically victimise, malign and defame their names.

The petition alleges that Mr Abro was acting under the instructions DG FIA Bashir Ahmed Memon, whose brother Naseer Ahmed Memon contested the election on the ticket of the Grand Demoratic Alliance against a PPP candidate in the constituency of PB-58. Likewise, JIT chief Mirza is one of the accused in an FIR lodged by Asif Zardari which is pending before the additional sessions judge of Karachi South.

Najaf Mirza is also a cousin of Dr Zulfikar Ali Mirza who was inimical towards Asif Zardari, the application says.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2018