Gilani claims 5-6 more cases against him in the pipeline

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Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was granted protective bail by Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi on Wednesday in a ninth case registered against him by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with regards to a multi-billion rupee scam involving the Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

The petition for bail in the ninth case was filed by Gilani’s counsel on Tuesday, but was registered too late in the day for any conclusion to be reached on the matter.

Speaking to reporters after obtaining the bail order, Gilani said he suspected there were five or six more cases against him in the pipeline. He alleged that the FIA had visited his Multan residence and harassed his employees. He called the incident “discrimination” and “character assassination of a political party”.

PPP Secretary General Sardar Latif Khosa said the former prime minister’s lawyer Farooq H. Naek tried to get protective bail for Gilani so he wasn’t arrested before he could be presented in court. He added that there shouldn’t be any discrimination against the PPP stalwart, saying that the first names on a list presented by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in court were those of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Khosa alleged that Nawaz Sharif had allotted 2,600 two-kanal plots in one day in Lahore’s Johar Town area.

Farooq Naek said the cases against the former prime minister alleged that Gilani’s deputy secretary had taken a Rs 5 million bribe and a confession was forcibly extracted from him under torture. “You cannot run the government and FIA this way,” he said, adding, “Don’t register false cases… and take unfair advantage of your position”. He also appealed to the heads of the FIA to “stop registering false cases”.

On Tuesday, a single-member bench, comprising Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi, of the IHC granted protective bail to Gilani in eight other cases. 

A federal anti-corruption court last week issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Gilani, Makhdoom Amin Fahim and others.

During the course of hearing, advocate Naek told the court that Gilani was innocent as his name was not mentioned in the initial FIRs but was included in the final challan. He said the former prime minister wanted to appear before the federal court in Karachi but he apprehended that the FIA may pressure him to make a statement against his own party colleagues.

Justice Qureshi directed Gilani to submit Rs 100,000 surety bonds in each case. Since there were eight FIRs, the former prime minister has to furnish Rs 800,000 bonds. The judge made it clear that the protective bail would expire after one week in case Gilani would not appear before the trial court.