LAHORE - Barrister Syed Ali Zafar who is representing Qasim Zia in the enquiry initiated by National Accountability Bureau against Ali Usman Stock Brokerage (Pvt) Limited has claimed his client is innocent.

Talking to The Nation, Barrister Ali Zafar asserted NAB's entire case against one Ali Usman Chaudhry, the chief executive officer of Ali Usman Stock Brokerage (Pvt) Limited, was that he had received investments from people and could not pay them back. “Qasim Zia who has impeccable reputation and is a national hero has nothing to do with these investments. No doubt, he was at one point in time a shareholder in the company, but had no say in the management of its affairs. In 2007, he transferred all his shares after which he had nothing to do with its affairs,” Barrister Zafar claimed and added these facts could be verified from the SECP records. “In fact, the investment made by Qasim Zia in the company was a complete loss and he had to lodge an FIR No 480/2008 against Ali Usman Chaudhry,” the lawyer pointed out.

Zafar claimed there was not even a single claimant with NAB, alleging that he had given any money to Qasim Zia. Instead, all the claimants were demanding their money from Ali Usman Chaudhry, he averred. “The NAB has failed to arrest the alleged culprit, but to cover its own negligence or connivance has arrested an innocent person against whom there is no case,” Zafar held. He claimed that NAB had no jurisdiction to investigate such matters, adding this entire exercise was based on ulterior motives.

Zafar pointed out that Ali Usman Chaudhry was an absconder whereas Qasim Zia had fully cooperated with NAB, joined all enquiries and furnished all the required documents to them. He was always available, but NAB raided his house and arrested him in the dead of night, which showed the entire case was designed to harass him and damage his reputation, the barrister asserted.

He said a separate FIR was being lodged against NAB, besides filing a constitutional petition under Article 199 of the Constitution in the Lahore High Court, challenging all the proceedings initiated against Qasim Zia. Ultimately, innocence of his client would be established, he concluded.