Saturday, 24 August, 2019

Former Pakistani president Zardari arrested on corruption charges

Opposition members surround the speaker's dais demanding the deputy speaker to give the floor to Bilawal. — DawnNewsTV screengrab Opposition members surround the speaker's dais demanding the deputy speaker to give the floor to Bilawal. — DawnNewsTV screengrab
Patty Aguilar | 10 June, 2019, 18:22

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) today arrested the PPP co-chairman and former president after a coourt rejected the extension in pre-arrest bail plea. There, the medical checkup of Asif Zardari will be done. However, his sister Faryal Talpur was so far not arrested.

President Shehbaz Sharif lamented on Monday the issue of arrest warrant of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, demanding that production order be issued for the former president, who was taken into custody earlier in the day.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Kiani of the IHC gave the verdict on the petitions after hearing arguments from both sides.

"NAB is harassing Asif Ali Zardari", a visibly charged Marri declared.

Over two dozen politicians and others have been under investigation for money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. On May 14, the anti-corruption unit furnished details of inquiries, investigations and references in the fake accounts case.

The NAB prosecutor responded that 29 [fake bank] accounts were traced, according to the FIR lodged in the case, and transactions of Rs4.5 billion were uncovered, and billions of rupees were transferred from A1 worldwide and Umair Associates.

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Pakistan's supreme court established a commission in September to investigate the claims, finding that at least US$400m (£316m) had passed through "thousands of false accounts".

Mr Zardari has previously spent time in jail on corruption charges, but was president from 2008 until 2013.

The arrest comes as the economy continues to spiral and discontent simmers in Pakistan following repeated devalutions of the rupee, soaring inflation, and rising utility prices.

Khan, a longtime foe of Zardari, was elected prime minister a year ago after running a heated campaign vowing to crackdown on corruption. Khan's predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, was removed from office by the Supreme Court over corruption allegations.

Deputy Speaker Qasim Khani Suri adjourned the session till Tuesday after Pakistan Peoples Party legislators surrounded his dais in protest for not allowing Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speak in the National Assembly.

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