Court extends Zardari, Talpur’s physical remand by 10 days


ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) 10-day physical remand of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake bank accounts case.

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 former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, Farhatullah Babar and Rehman Malik, were also present in the court.

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 on the same day.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, 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 [PM’s adviser on finance] Hafeez Shaikh,” 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.

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.