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pakistan
Tuesday Jun 23 2020
By
Web Desk

Asif Ali Zardari to be indicted on July 7 in money laundering case

By
Web Desk
Accountability court to indict accused in the money laundering case via video link sessions due to prevalent coronavirus pandemic. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari, Hussain Lawai and Omni Group chief Anwar Majeed will be indicted in a money laundering case on July 7.

According to an order issued by an accountability court in Islamabad, the court will indict the accused in the money laundering case via video link sessions due to prevalent coronavirus pandemic.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been directed in this regard to prepare arrangements for a video link session at the hospital to indict Majeed. Others accused in the case, including Lawai, Taha Raza and Muhammad Umair will be indicted in Adiala Jail.

Moreover, the anti-graft has asked the other accused to appear before the court in person on July 7.

Earlier this month, the court had deferred the hearing of Zardari and other accused in the Park Lane reference till June 26.

As the hearing of the case resumed, Zardari's lawyer Farooq H Naik had submitted exemption pleas on behalf of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur from appearing before the court due to the prevalent coronavirus situation in the country.

To this Judge Azam Khan had said that social distancing would be maintained in the courtroom.

'No fear of lawsuits, we will fight in court'

Zardari in a phone call to PPP lawmakers Qamar Zaman Kaira and Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed on Tuesday discussed the political situation of the country and other party affairs and maintained that he holds 'no fear of lawsuits and will fight for the right in court'.

Referring to the current coronavirus crisis, Zardari warned that the situation might slip out of hands if the government doesn't take effective and timely measures to curb the rapid spread of the virus.

"If the government does nothing for the people, a terrible situation may arise," he noted.

Reminding about the party's stance and support to farmers during the global financial crisis of 2008, the former president lamented that the incumbent rulers do not follow the constitution or any principle but "want to destroy everything".

Speaking about the problems in Balochistan, Zardari said that all nationalist parties in Balochistan had boycotted the 2008 elections and it was the efforts of PPP that all parties in Balochistan have returned to the national mainstream.

"PPP is still ready to play its role in solving the problems of Balochistan," he said, adding that condition is that the Baloch youth give up the armed struggle and return to the political struggle.

"The state also needs to be more careful in Balochistan now, if any other incident like Akbar Bugti happens, no one will be able to handle the situation," Zardari added.

The case

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July 2018 in connection with the probe.

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.

The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.