Zardari summoned in corruption reference on May 20

Published April 30, 2021
In this file photo, former president Asif Ali Zardari arrives in a court for a hearing. — AP/File
In this file photo, former president Asif Ali Zardari arrives in a court for a hearing. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court of Islamabad has summoned former president Asif Ali Zardari on May 20 in a corruption reference.

Accountability Judge Syed Asghar Ali has summoned Mr Zardari in a case related to a suspicious transaction of Rs8.3 billion from the account of Bahria Town.

The same court has decided to indict a former director general for parks and horticulture of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Liaqat Ali Qaimkhani, on May 6 in a reference about having assets beyond means and his alleged role in the Bagh Ibne Qasim scam. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the reference against him on April 15.

The bureau has been conducting investigation regarding illegal allotment of amenity land of Bagh Ibne Qasim and its unlawful amalgamation with two plots of the Karachi Development Authority.

The court resumed proceedings in the reference on Thursday and directed NAB to distribute copies of the reference among the accused persons.

Accountability court decides to indict former KMC official in Bagh Ibne Qasim scam

NAB accused Mr Qaimkhani of purchasing properties in five different housing societies while he was in government job.

In the same case, NAB had arrested a former executive district officer for revenue, Sajjad Ali Abbasi, in June 2019. He was part of the committee that granted the amenity plot to a private construction firm and also the Sindh Land Committee which regularised the land of Bagh Ibne Qasim to the same company.

Mr Qaimkhani was appointed adviser to the Karachi mayor after his retirement a few years ago. He served on key positions under former city nazims Niamatullah Khan and Mustafa Kamal.

In September last year, NAB seized eight vehicles, arms, property files, jewellery and official records of the KMC from Mr Qaimkhani’s house. The documents of seven bungalows in Karachi and Lahore were also found in his home during a search in Block-6 of PECHS.

‘Original files’ of the KMC were also seized from the suspect’s home.

Meanwhile, the accountability court has fixed a fake bank accounts case related to suspicious transaction of Rs8bn.

The court has summoned Mr Zardari’s stenographer Mushtaq Ahmed in this case on May 20.

NAB has accused Mr Zardari of constructing his palatial house in Clifton with ill-gotten money. As per the reference, Mushtaq Ahmed had provided Rs150 million for construction of the house.

The reference said that Mr Zardari could not provide proof of his claim that he had purchased the house through legal means.

According to the reference, an illegal transaction of Rs8.3bn was carried out via Mushtaq Ahmed’s bank account with the money paid to Bahria Town.

The accused, Mushtaq Ahmed, worked as a government employee in the President House from 2009 to 2013. He was recruited as a stenographer on the recommendation of Senator Rukhsana Bangash.

A third accused in the case, Zain Malik — the son-in-law of Bahria Town’s owner Malik Riaz — has already signed a plea bargain deal with the NAB and deposited around Rs9bn in the national exchequer.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2021

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