ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – An accountability court on Monday extended the physical remand of former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sibling Faryal Talpur till August 8 in money laundering through fake bank accounts and Park Lane Estate Company cases.
Justice Muhammad Bashir presided over the hearing of the cases. Police ensured strict security arrangements outside the judicial complex and blocked adjoining roads for routine traffic. The litigant public has been denied entry to the complex.
As the hearing resumed, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi prosecutor pleaded with the court to extend Zardari’s physical remand for 10 days and Talpur’s for five days.
Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek requested the court that it would be better if Zardari and Talpur were presented on the same day [in the next hearing].
However, Zardari’s defense counsel Latif Khosa pleaded with the court to extend the remand till August 19 due to Eid-ul-Azha holidays.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Bashir remarked that the remand could only be extended for 15 days at one time.
Khosa further presented arguments over newspaper clipping – presented by Zardari in the previous hearing in which the former president had said that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had stated that Zardari owns 32 properties – and pleaded with the court to summon Akbar and ask him [about evidence regarding his claims].
In the previous hearing, the judge had asked Zardari to handover the clipping to his lawyer, and a legal action over the matter could only be taken after filing of an application with the court.
The court had also extended Talpur’s remand till August 6; however upon a request by a NAB investigation officer, her physical custody under the NAB was reduced till July 29. Talpur’s physical remand has been extended fourth time.
On July 15, an accountability court in Islamabad extended the physical remand of Zardari for 14 days in the Park Lane case.
The National Accountability Bureau had arrested Zardari in the Park Lane case on July 1 while he was already in custody with the bureau’s Rawalpindi directorate in connection with the fake accounts case. In the Park Lane case, the court directed the NAB to produce him on July 29.
On June 10, Asif Ali Zardari had surrendered himself to a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after IHC rejected his and his sister Faryal Talpur’s pre-arrest bail plea in the money laundering case.
Following the refusal of bail, a team of anti-corruption watchdog accompanied by police personnel had reached the residence of PPP co-chairman and arrested him. Asif Zardari was taken to NAB office in Rawalpindi where he was shifted to cell no 2.
The NAB has been conducting investigation in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references.