Zardari sent to Adiala jail on judicial remand till Aug 19

Former Pakistani president and currently a lawmaker in Parliament and leader of Pakistan People's party, Asif Ali Zardari, center, leaves the High Court building, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, June 10, 2019. A Pakistani court has rejected a request by Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, for an extension of their bail that would allow them to remain free despite facing a multimillion-dollar money laundering case. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Friday sent Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to Adiala jail on judicial remand till August 19 in the fake bank accounts case.

Judge Muhammad Bashir, who had conducted the hearing, was informed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor that a new development has been made in the case as another suspect has recorded his statement.

The anti-graft prosecutor then sought an extension in the physical remand of the former president which was rejected.

Zardari was produced before the court amidst beefed up security on completion of his physical remand. The court had directed the anti-graft body to complete its investigations during the eight-day physical remand, which was granted in the previous hearing.

It merits a mention here that a 62-day physical remand of Asif Ali Zardari had already been completed in the fake accounts and money laundering reference.

During the proceedings on Friday, Zardari’s counsel Latif Khosa said that the former president had earlier requested that NAB be granted his 90-day physical remand once, instead of multiple shorter remands. The counsel argued that while a 90-day remand could not be granted, the court could approve a 14-day remand.

“After four days they [NAB] come again and ask for remand,” he said, adding that the repeated court appearances cause a loss to the national exchequer.

Appearing on the rostrum, Zardari said that he was not allowed to offer prayers even on Eidul Azha. He said that his daughter was not allowed to meet him during the holiday, despite having court permission to do so.

Zardari also requested that he be seated in the front seat of the car while being taken to Adiala Jail.

“How can I give an order regarding [you] being seated in the front or the back?” responded the judge, rejecting his request.

Khosa said that the former president’s legal team should be granted permission to visit him twice a week, adding that lawyers were “officers of the court”.

“Before meetings, we are made to wait two to three hours, which is contempt of court,” he said, requesting that Farooq H. Naek and himself be granted permission to meet their client.

Before arriving at the jail, Zardari submitted an application for ‘A-Class’ facilities. Subsequently, the former president was shifted to the jail in an armoured car.

Meanwhile, Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur, who is in Adiala Jail, submitted a request to participate in a session of the Sindh Assembly. The court asked the NAB prosecutor for a reply to be submitted on the request for transit remand on Aug 19.