Former president Asif Ali Zardari was on Saturday granted two weeks' protective bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), a day after a banking court had issued arrest warrants against his name.
The PPP co-chairman secured bail in a Rs4.14 billion money laundering case by depositing surety bonds worth Rs500,000. His plea, filed earlier today, was heard by Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb.
During the hearing, Zardari's lawyer, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, said his client wished to appear before the banking court and cooperate with the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) investigation, but feared arrest.
Zardari was accompanied by his daughter, Asifa Bhutto, and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman.
The money laundering case had initially been registered against former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be a close aide to Zardari, and other bankers in connection with an ongoing probe into a massive money laundering scam.
Lawai and other bankers stand accused of facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, where “beneficiaries of the Sindh government” had deposited Rs35bnm, which were subsequently transferred to different accounts.
In the interim charge sheet filed on July 21, Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s names had appeared in the list of absconding accused persons along with their addresses.