KARACHI: Apprehending that the interim pre-arrest bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, in the money laundering case may not be extended, a large number of workers of Pakistan Peoples Party gathered outside the banking court on Friday.
Tensions ran high amid fears that Zardari and Talpur may be arrested as their bail had ended a day earlier. However, the banking court extended the interim bail of both PPP leaders till January 7. This is the fourth time that their interim bail has been extended.
Zardari and Faryal had been nominated in a Rs35 billion case of money laundering through fake bank accounts. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating several people in the case. The list of accused includes Omni Group Chairperson Anwar Majeed, his sons, Abdul Ghani Majeed and Nimr Majeed, and Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairperson Hussain Lawai, who are already in FIA’s custody for interrogation.
Zardari, Talpur pre-arrest bail extended till Jan 7
The central leadership of PPP and other workers who had gathered at the court before Zardari’s and Talpur’s arrival, claimed that the PPP leadership was being subjected to political revenge and vowed to fight it out as the party had been persecuted in the past as well.
Among those present were the former chief minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, former federal interior minister, Rehman Malik, former Punjab governor, Latif Khosa, PPP Sindh chief Nisar Khuhro, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Rashid Rabbani and Waqar Mehdi.
Talking to the media, Khosa said that the PPP was being targeted for revenge. He claimed that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) wanted everyone in jail so that it could rule the country unchallenged, adding that the so-called change brought about by PTI had only added to the sufferings of the masses. Khuhro said that inflation was on the rise, people had to face CNG shortage, the economy was on the brink of collapse, and shops and houses were being demolished, adding that those who promised to eradicate unemployment had rendered thousands of people jobless.
Responding to a question regarding a reference file by PTI against Zardari, Khuhro said that Zardari had bought the flat in America during the course of his treatment and it has been long since Zardari sold it.
The PTI has also filed a disqualification case against Zardari for allegedly concealing his assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan.
PTI, PPP file tit-for-tat disqualification pleas
But Khuhro said that Zardari had declared all his assets and the party would send a notice to PTI for this allegation. “We have never denied our ties with Omni Group but that does not automatically make Zardari liable for everything”, said Khuhro. He claimed that “Zardari will emerge victorious in the cases against him much to the dismay of those who are spreading rumours about his arrest.”
Talking to the media, Malik said that such cases are not new for the party and the media trial of PPP should come to an end. According to him, Zardari has been falsely accused and the allegations against him will remain false till the investigations are completed. He said that the case is under trial and should not be discussed, adding that those spreading rumours should apologise and the government should end its politics of revenge.
Mehdi added that the rumours (of arrest) are being spread by those who want instability in the country. He said that the party respects the law and will accept whatever the court decides but it strongly believes that Zardari is innocent and will succeed in every case.
Zardari’s lawyer, Farooq H Naik, claimed that the speculation about Zardari being arrested was incomprehensible.