KARACHI - A banking court Monday extended the pre-arrest bail of PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others for the seventh time in a case pertaining to alleged laundering of billions of rupees through several fake bank accounts, till January 23.

Former president Asif Zardari his sister Faryal and others appeared in the trail court amid tight security.

During the proceeding, defence counsels pleaded the court to issue direction to the investing officer to produce final challan of the case. The judge refused their plea and stated that the matter is already under trail in the Supreme Court, therefore the apex court had halted proceedings in the banking court.

Prior to the proceeding, the FIA official requested the court to issue direction for the Rangers’ deployment outside the banking court when the proceeding of such case was conducted.

The official made such request as the PPP supports including PPP’s lawyers’ wing People Lawyers Forum (PLF), have allegedly violated of the court’s decorum as a racket ensued at the premises of the banking court as security officials refused to let PPP supporters enter the courtroom after Zardari and Talpur had made their way inside.

Deputy Director of FIA, Bakhtiar Channa stated that it was very difficult for the prosecution to defend its case in such circumstance

The PPP workers chanted slogans in the favour of their leaders on the court premises, the security personnel tried to stop them from entering the court, but the workers have forcibly entered and started shouting.

PPP leaders, including, Nafeesa Shah, Imtaiz Sheikh, Nisar Khoro, Manzoor Wasan, Agha Siraj Durani and others were also present on the occasion. 

On the direction of the court, the main accused Hussain Lawai and Ghani Majeed have been produced in the court by jail police.

Hussain Lawai told the journalists outside the court room that he was shifted to Karachi from Adiyala on Sunday for the appearance in the court. 

Earlier, on the direction of the apex court, Abdul Ghani Majeed and Hussain Lawai were shifted to the Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, for interrogation.

The prison authority produced medical reports of the two accused Anwar Majeed and Taha Raza and said that both were not able to move, therefore they were not produced in the court. Taha Raza, who is in Landhi jail, he has received fracture on his leg, the report further stated that the doctors have also advised him for bed rest and he was not allowed to move by the doctors. 

The court adjourned hearing and extended interim bail of the ex-president, his sister along with around 11 other suspects till next hearing.

Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur, along with 18 other suspects have been declared absconders in an interim charge sheet filed by the FIA. Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur had, however, obtained bail before arrest.

The fake accounts case revolves around a 2015 inquiry into suspicious transactions when 29 ‘benami’ accounts were identified, 16 of them in the Summit Bank, eight in the Sindh Bank and five in the United Bank Limited.

According to the FIA prosecution, seven individuals were found involved in suspiciously transacting Rs35 billion. Hussain Lawai, former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and a close aide of Zardari, Omni Group of Companies chairman Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, and co-accused Taha Raza, head of the Summit Bank’s corporate unit, have been arrested in the case.

Initially, the FIA detained ex-PSE chief Lawai and Taha Raza in July for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts in three private banks. A case was later registered against all the suspects.