ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, who was exonerated in the last graft case against him earlier this week, has denied there was any ‘underhand deal’ involved in his acquittal.
Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is the second largest opposition group in the National Assembly, alleged on Sunday that Zardari’s acquittal was a result of ‘collusion’. “What else should we expect if major parties appoint the National Accountability Bureau chairman?”
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Zardari said those calling his acquittal muk-muka (underhand deal) didn’t have even an iota of reality, adding he had to fight a long legal battle to prove his innocence.
“Before these cases [the last one in which he was acquitted], I faced 12 cases, all based on trumped-up charges, which had been filed by the late president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan. I was acquitted in all of them while still in jail,” he added.
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“I defended myself against the charges in courts instead of opting for settlements,” he added. “There is a long story behind each [corruption] case against me. It is so easy to call it muk-muka (underhand deal).”
He recalled that once he walked out of a Karachi jail after the MPO had been quashed by Justice Kazi, the jail superintendent taunted him saying, “Why are you packing up! You will have to return to jail soon.”
“While I walked out of the jail, they were waiting for me outside. They arrested me on the charge of murdering Mir Murtaza Bhutto [brother of Benazir Bhutto],” he added.
Asked if he would sue those who had implicated him in ‘made-up cases’, Zardari said he did not believe in seeking revenge.
The PPP co-chairman claimed that the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) had clauses for election reforms, restoration of democracy and it also paved way for Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan. One of the conditions of NRO was that Pervez Musharraf would doff his military uniform while staying on as president of the country.
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Zardari claimed that he had been implicated in fake cases. One of the cases involved seizure of a truckload of currency notes from Lahore. “May I ask those who had instituted the cases against me where is that truckload of money now.”
The PPP supremo also said that the decision to amend Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution should be left for the next assembly, implying his party was not ready to lend the ruling PML-N support for its plan to make constitutional changes.
About the next general election, Zardari said he expected a large number of politicians would contest the vote as independent candidates.
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