Zardari, Bilawal reach Islamabad for NAB hearing

Published: March 19, 2019
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to appear for the National Accountability Bureau hearing today (Wednesday).

Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday granted bail for 10 days to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the money laundering and Park Lane cases against a surety of Rs1 million each, while also accepting the bail plea from Faryal Talpur in mega money laundering case for Rs1 million, granting her freedom for 10 days. Both the leaders deposited the surety money.

The two-member bench headed by Chief Justice SHC Ahmed Ali Sheikh and comprising Justice Omar Siyal heard Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur’s bail plea in mega money laundering and Park Lane cases.

Zardari and Talpur appeared before the court while Provincial Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Sohail Anwar Sial, Waqar Mehdi and other leaders were also present.

Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek maintained that the court had summoned PPP co-chairman in Park Lane apartment inquiry. Naek said that his client was ready to face NAB but added he feared the anti-graft watchdog might arrest him under the pretext of inquiry.

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The court after listening to the counsel granted 10 days protective bail to Asif Zardari in the mega money laundering and Park Lane cases against a surety of Rs1 million each. The court also granted protective bail to Faryal Talpur for 10 days against a surety of Rs1 million. Both the leaders deposited the surety. The court directed both to cooperate with NAB.

A large number of PPP supporters were present on the occasion to support their leaders.

NAB hearing

PPP leaders and workers have been asked to show up at the NAB office for the hearings to which Zardari and Bilawal have been summoned. The PPP leadership maintained that they will not tolerate political vendetta but the party has decided that its leader appear for the hearing.

Addressing a press conference at the PPP’s secretariat in Islamabad, Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that NAB has summoned Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur at its Islamabad headquarter. “Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari will appear at the hearing and respond to questions both orally and in written form,” he said.

Accompanied by Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, the PPP leader also called for an inquiry against the reported suicide of Brig (ret) Asad Munir. The two leaders said that the PPP’s Rawalpindi branch will file a request to register a police report against Railways Minister Shaikh Rasheed for his alleged threat to kill Bilawal Bhutto.

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Bukhari questioned the rationale behind shifting of the case from Karachi. “As per the code, hearing for the case should take place where the crime has been reported. Cases are only transferred under extraordinary circumstances. We should be told about what special conditions permit the transfer of the case from one province to another,” they said.

Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, meanwhile, recalled that the verdict pertaining to inclusion of Bilawal’s name in the case did not mention the remarks made by the top judge of the country. “The then chief justice had asked the court to remove Bilawal’s name from the case but it was not made part of the verdict. Either the CJP’s statement was not his own or the written verdict was made by someone else,” he remarked.

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Security measures

NAB has directed Islamabad’s chief commissioner and inspector general (IG) to ensure full security during the hearing of the fake accounts case in which Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto have also been summoned.

In a letter sent to the IG and chief commissioner, NAB has requested that necessary security arrangements should be made at the NAB headquarter and Rawalpindi office for Zardari and Bilawal’s appearance before the joint investigation team on Wednesday. The authorities should ensure necessary security arrangements at NAB headquarter and NAB Rawalpindi office.

Read the full text of the JIT report here.

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