Zardari, Talpur's physical remand extended by 10 days

Speaking to the media outside court, Zardari says those talking about corruption should arrest Hafeez Sheikh


Zaigham Naqvi July 29, 2019
Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his Faryal Talpur. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Monday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) 10-day physical remand of both former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.

Announcing the verdict, Judge Mohammad Bashir ordered that Zardari and Talpur be presented before the court on August 8.

Earlier, Zardari was brought to the court by a team of the accountability bureau. Senior party leaders including Raza Rabbani, Farhatullah Babar and Rehman Malik were also present in the court.

Court extends Zardari's physical remand by fortnight

During the court proceedings, NAB had requested 10-day physical remand of the PPP co-chairman and five-day physical remand of Talpur.

Zardari's counsel Farooq H Naek requested the court it would be better if the two were presented in the court the same day.

Speaking to the media representatives later, the former president said he would attend Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s million march against the government from the prison.

“Those who talk about corruption should arrest Hafeez Sheikh,” said Zardari.

In June this year, Zardari was arrested by NAB after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) recalled the pre-arrest bail granted to him and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake accounts case.

The co-chairman of the PPP was taken into NAB custody from his residence in the federal capital and was taken to the NAB Rawalpindi office.

The fake accounts saga

Information regarding the fake accounts came to the fore when an intelligence agency picked up a prominent money changer in an unrelated case. In December 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) began a discreet investigation into certain bank accounts through which multi-billion rupee transactions have been made.

The probe was initially shelved but resumed almost a year and a half later with FIA’s State Bank circle initiating a formal inquiry in January 2018. By June, the FIA had several high-profile names on its list but was unable to make headway–for several reasons.

It was at his point that the Supreme Court intervened and then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the ‘slow progress’ in the money-laundering case.

In July, Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai and three others were arrested. Subsequently, the first case was registered in the mega-corruption scandal.

Zardari arrested in fake accounts case

The then chief justice ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to quicken the pace of the investigation. The JIT identified 11,500 bank accounts and 924 account holders at the start of their investigation.

The JIT report in a nutshell

According to the report, the JIT identified 11,500 bank accounts and 924 account holders at the start of their investigation.

Its experts generated 59 Suspected Transaction Reports (STR) and 24,500 Cash Transaction Reports. That means the transactions were flagged as suspicious. Due to the high quantum of transactions, the JIT decided on a threshold of Rs10million “to track, follow and minutely investigate the flow of funds beyond the immediate counterparties and determine the source of funds and ultimate beneficiaries.”

It questioned 767 individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, while Bilawal submitted written responses.

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