Thursday, November 01, 2018

Authorities will have to prove I deposited money in fictitious accounts: Zardari

The PPP co-chairman says he can still 'defend' himself even it is proven he got the accounts opened


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari Thursday said that authorities will have to first prove that he had deposited money in fictitious bank accounts opened in the name of an ice cream vendor, rickshaw driver or a sweetmeat seller.

The PPP co-chairman said so during an exclusive interview with Geo News aired in programme 'Capital Talk'.

"By and large, I have an understanding of the law...Every other day surfaces a milkman or a sweetmeat seller, and money is found in their accounts," he slammed.

"They have to first prove that I went and got an account opened, but that is not happening."

Zardari said if it is established that he got the accounts opened, then a case could be lodged against him.

He, however, the PPP co-chairman said he could still "defend" himself.

"But that too I can defend telling them, 'Yes, I deposited money in his account, it is my choice'," Zardari said.

He further said bank officials are at fault, when asked who was to blame if the account holder did not even have knowledge of the account being operated in his name.

The FIA has been investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious bank accounts, including former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.

Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July this year in connection with the probe, whereas Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, were also taken into custody later.

'Matter of NRO is nothing'

The PPP co-chairman said that there is no substance in the matter of an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), in a statement that contrasts with claims by government functionaries including the prime minister.

"The matter of NRO is nothing; Prime Minister Imran Khan is in the habit of speaking," Zardari said further during the interview.

"We are telling him to become executive and let us do the opposition."

'PM should himself get protests issue resolved'

Criticising the prime minister for his speech a day earlier, he said the premier distanced his government from the issue [of countrywide protests] and brought forward the institutions.

"This is the first time that the prime minister holds the portfolio of Ministry on Interior," Zardari said, adding the interior ministry is responsible both for holding talks and taking action.

He suggested the prime minister to himself get the issue resolved.

The statement by the PPP co-chairman comes amid countrywide protests over the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was earlier sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy, by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Zardari vowed to support Prime Minister Imran Khan in the emerging situation.

The PPP co-chairman was also asked about reports that model Ayyan Ali was also being brought to Pakistan and made an approver.

"Approver for what? Is there any connection?" he questioned.

Warning against burdening of common people, Zardari said that something will have to be done in order to prevent the masses from standing up in case of getting no relief.

Commenting on Saudi assitance to Pakistan, he said they did not have such terms with Saudi Arabia to get such a huge sum in financial assistance.

"Someone has got them money from Saudi Arabia," the PPP co-chairman said.