Zardari wants debt probe body to start with Musharraf era

Updated June 15, 2019

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Detained PPP leader appears before accountability court in fake accounts case. — AP/File
Detained PPP leader appears before accountability court in fake accounts case. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Former president and co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari on Friday demanded that Prime Minsiter Imran Khan’s proposed commission investigate the loans obtained by former military dictator retired General Pervez Musharraf before examining the debts secured by successive civilian governments.

Mr Zardari was speaking to journalists after attending the proceedings of the accountability court in connection with a fake accounts case. The accountability court was also informed that the National Accountability Bureau had taken Mr Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur, into custody and her residence had been declared a sub-jail.

PM Khan in his June 11 televised addr­ess announced that a commission comprising officials of the Inter-Services Intelli­ge­nce, Federal Investigation Agency, Secu­r­i­ties and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Intelligence Bureau would probe Rs2,400 billion loans obtained during the last 10 years.

Detained PPP leader appears before accountability court in fake accounts case

“I wanted the scope of the commission be expanded to 1947; however, I don’t want to disgrace graves,” he said, adding that the commission should at least probe the debts obtained over the last 20 years and the loans added by the incumbent government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) should also be examined by the commission.

He expressed surprise over the televised address, saying that such a speech at midnight by a prime minister was rare in Pakistan’s history.

In response to a question as to whether the PTI government — minus Imran Khan — would be acceptable to the PPP, Mr Zardari said that a multi-party conference would take a decision in this regard.

Regarding PM Khan’s claim regarding pursuing the corrupt and those who misused the debts at the cost of his life, the ex-president said that all claims of Imran Khan were a pack of lies. “He repeatedly stated that he would prefer to commit suicide than taking a loan from the Internat­ional Monitory Fund but took a U-turn and went to the IMF,” he said.

Replying to a question as to why the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz governments had failed to amend the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, the former president said that since he and Nawaz Sharif were not on the same page then, they could not agree on some clauses of the proposed amendments to the NAB law.

During the case proceedings, the accountability court was informed that the interior ministry had initiated the process of issuance of red warrants for two accused — Nasar Abdullah and Azam Nazir Khan. The court marked attendance of the accused and adjourned the proceedings till June 27.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2019