ISLAMABAD: An acco­un­tability court on Friday sent former president Asif Ali Zardari to Adiala jail on a 14-day judicial remand, rejecting the request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking an extension of four days in his physical remand.

NAB produced Mr Zardari before accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir and sought his physical remand to investigate the fake accounts case.

The NAB prosecutor told the court that due to a situation created by the testimony of a new witness against Mr Zardari and his handing over of some important documents relating to the case to the investigation team, NAB required the physical custody of Mr Zardari to investigate the matter further.

Mr Zardari has been under the custody of NAB since June 10 when the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed his pre-arrest bail petition.

Mr Zardari’s counsel, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, on the other hand told the court that his client had been behind bars for the past 67 days.

When AC judge Bashir sought a progress report from NAB, the prosecutor held out an assurance that on the next date of hearing, the progress report would be produced in court.

Mr Khosa argued in court that NAB had had been seeking extension of physical remand of his client at regular intervals. The movement of the PPP leader, he said, cost heavily to the national exchequer because of deployment of security and other arrangements during the appearance of Mr Zardari.

While Mr Khosa was giving arguments in court, Mr Zardari approached the rostrum and complained that NAB’s investigation team did not let him offer prayers.

“I will ask Mr Irfan Naeem Mangi [the director general of NAB] is this an Islamic state?” he said, adding that despite a clear order of the court, his daughter had not been allowed to meet him even on Eidul Azha.

The judge offered him to meet his daughter in the vacant courtroom within the federal judicial complex.

Subsequently, Mr Zardari and his daughter Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari went to the courtroom where PPP leaders Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Rukhsana Bangash, Anwar Sial, Amir Fida Paracha and others also accompanied them.

The court directed NAB to produce Mr Zardari in court on August 19.

Advocate Khosa filed an application in the court requesting for A-Class for Mr Zardari in Adiala jail, air conditioner and medical facilities on the grounds of his client being a cardiac patient.

He further requested the court to allow Mr Zardari’s meeting with lawyers on the jail premises.

The judge issued notices to NAB and the jail administration and adjourned the hearing.

Approver

Meanwhile, the head of the Credit Section of the Sindh Bank, Nadeem Altaf, has filed an application before the NAB chairman to become an approver in the fake accounts case.

The prosecution produced Mr Altaf in court and informed the judge that the accused had filed an application to become an approver in the case and his plea was pending before NAB.

NAB arrested Mr Altaf and two other Sindh Bank officers last month in connection with the case.

The court extended physical remand of Mr Altaf for seven days and directed NAB to expedite the process on his application.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2019