ISLAMABAD - Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur appeared before an accountability court in the first hearing of fake bank accounts case yesterday.

During the hearing, the court rejected exemption plea of Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur and directed them to attend all hearings of the case.

In a dramatic turn of events during the appearance - which was Zardari and Talpur’s first before the accountability court - two women suspects filed a plea in the court offering to give their testimony in the case.

The two women told the accountability court’s Judge Arshad Malik that they had made a similar request to the National Accountability Bureau chairman as well.

When the judge asked the NAB prosecutor what he thought about the request, the prosecutor said the bureau would first need to check whether the request had been lodged.

The court then directed the women to submit their written pleas before the judge.

The court also adjourned the hearing till April 16.

As many as 2,000 police personnel along with 200 Punjab Rangers were deployed for the court hearing.

DIG Operations Waqaruddin Syed said that no unauthorised person would be allowed to enter the courts and no one would be allowed to take law into their hands.

Zardari, who had reached Islamabad earlier, had asked his party workers not to come to the court.

On the occasion, female party workers clashed with security personnel after which, they were arrested whereas PPP‘s former general secretary Latif Khosa also got infuriated when he was stopped to enter the court.

Earlier on March 20, police and PPP workers had clashed outside the NAB court where Zardari and his son Bilawal had recorded their statements in the case.

The duo was questioned by NAB’s combined investigation team under the supervision of DG NAB Rawalpindi Irfan Mangi for approximately two hours in three cases.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July last year in connection with the probe.

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed 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.

 

ZARDARI’S WITTY RESPONSE TO JOURNALIST WHEN ASKED ABOUT NAWAZ

 

Former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari appeared before an accountability court in money laundering case and was asked a question about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Prior to hearing, a journalist asked Zardari about his sentiments on sitting on the same chair which was once occupied by Nawaz Sharif.

“Mian Sahib is a high profile personality, we are not,” Zardari replied wittingly.

During yesterday’s hearing of the case, two of the accused in the case requested the court that they should be allowed to testify as witnesses.