ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said on Wednesday that his party would launch a street protest against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government after Eid.
Talking briefly to journalists after obtaining pre-arrest bail from the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case, Mr Zardari said the government was afraid of his party’s protest and that was why they had fabricated cases against him.
On Tuesday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted to the IHC a report stating that the bureau was proceeding against Mr Zardari in 36 different cases and out of which his role had been established in at least eight cases so far. The anti-graft watchdog submitted the 11-page report in response to a petition filed by the former president seeking details of the cases relating to fake bank accounts being pursued by NAB against him.
Former president gets pre-arrest bail from IHC in fake bank accounts case
Asked why NAB was conducting dozens of inquiries against him, Mr Zardari sarcastically said because he owned so much money.
Interestingly, after perusing the NAB report, even the IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani observed that there were too many cases and “never ending”.
NAB has so far filed five interim references in an accountability court in the fake accounts case, besides issuing call-up notices to Mr Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and close aides in 36 inquiries.
Lead defence counsel Farooq H. Naek pointed out “overlapping” of the facts in different inquiries. He informed the IHC bench that there were fewer issues against which NAB had initiated about three dozen inquiries and investigations. He suggested to the court to be specific in the matter since the suspects flooded the IHC with bail pleas due to variety of inquiries related to the fake bank accounts.
NAB in its report also provided a list of fake accounts cases pending before the IHC. A majority of the cases are those in which the accused, including Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, Hussain Lawai and Anwar Majeed, sought bail from the court.
Since the registration of the fake bank accounts case with the Federal Investigation Agency in June last year, 11 petitions have been filed — eight by Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur and others seeking pre-arrest bail, one by Khawaja Nimar Majeed seeking information about cases and two by Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza seeking post-arrest bail.
In a reference relating to illegal allotment of amenity plots, three accused filed bail pleas. In the Pink Residency reference, four accused are seeking pre-arrest bail. In another reference relating to illegal award of contract by the Special Initiative Department, Sindh, five accused are seeking bail.
As per the NAB report, there are 12 different petitions in which Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and others are seeking bail from the IHC.
On the suggestion of Advocate Naek, the IHC clubbed together the petitions related to Park Lane properties, luxury vehicles, illegal award of contracts and receiving kickbacks from private companies and adjourned the hearing till May 29.
The same IHC bench also heard pre-arrest bail petitions of accused Ijaz Khan Jakhrani, Ali Kamal Majeed and others and granted them interim bail till next month.
Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2019