PPP leaders now face arrest on money laundering charges
The Islamabad High Court on Monday rejected from Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister and Sindh lawmaker Faryal Talpur an extension to their pre-arrest bail application in an ongoing corruption case alleging money laundering via fake accounts.
A two-member bench of Justices Amir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani dismissed the PPP leaders’ plea and allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to place the siblings under arrest. The PPP retains the right to appeal this verdict before the Supreme Court.
Following the court’s decision, it is expected that Zardari and his sister will soon be taken into custody by the anti-graft watchdog. Senior PPP leaders have already vowed to take to the streets to protest Zardari’s arrest if NAB proceeds with its plans, with the party’s Punjab cadre promising to block roads in provincial capital Lahore.
The fake accounts case has been under investigation since 2015. Last year, then-Chief Justice Saqib Nisar took notice of its ‘slow pace’ and started proceedings into the case. According to a NAB report, Zardari is allegedly linked to eight cases, with 22 inquiries still underway. To prevent the case from being politicized, the Supreme Court directed the formation of a Joint Investigation Team to investigate charges of money laundering against the accused. In addition to Zardari and Talpur, Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed; his son Abdul Ghani Majeed; former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai; and Summit Bank’s Taha Raza are also accused of money laundering.