ISLAMABAD - Senior Pakistan People’s Party leaders yesterday criticised the indictment of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. 

Senator Sherry Rehman, Pakistan People’s Party Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Secretary Information Dr Nafisa Shah, in their separate statements, questioned the indictment by a, accountability court. They also raised questions regarding this indictment when President Zardari’s lawyers were not present in the court. Senator Sherry Rehman said that to indict Zardari in the absence of his counsels was unlawful because no one can be indicted in the absence of his lawyers. 

“Indictment in the absence of counsels amounts to usurping the basic rights of former President Zardari. This indictment and all other actions of NAB are raising questions about NAB. PPP will not surrender its rights to bring amendments in NAB laws,” she said. Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that it is now a proven fact that NAB acts were against the Constitution regarding cases against PPP leadership.  Supreme Court has also declared NAB a worst kind of institution. NAB should be closed down after losing credibility, he said.

Dr Nafisa Shah said that PPP has always respected courts but justice does not seem to prevail in NAB court.  It is a condemnable act by the NAB court to indict former President in the absence of his lawyers, she said.

“PPP has always raised questions about the competence of NAB investigation officers and their bias against PPP leadership. Asif Ali Zardari has always been successful in the court of law and has been exonerated from all false cases,” she said. 

She asked NAB that what happened to the helicopter case against the Prime Minister and the Malam Jabba case.  “There are dozens of cases against government ministers but NAB is unmoved,” she added.

NAB being used to victimise Opposition: PPP

Pakistan People’s Party yesterday claimed former President Asif Ali Zardari was being denied justice.  In a statement, PPP leader Sehar Kamran questioned the indictment of Asif Ali Zardari by the National Accountability Bureau.

She said: “It is a sad day for the judicial system of Pakistan, the former President Asif Ali Zardari has been indicted in absence of his legal counsel. Such travesty of justice further raises questions on the functioning and use of NAB as a tool for political engineering and victimization of Opposition leaders.”  She said the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Human Rights Watch had raised serious observations on the role and functioning of the National Accountability Bureau. 

“Unfortunately, NAB is used for political engineering and harassment to silence opposing voices, cases are built to target key figures, arrest and harass them and their basic fundamental rights are denied. Despite Zardari’s repeated requests that his lawyers are not available today due to other cases in courts, NAB framed charges and indicted the former President of Pakistan,” she said.

“Zardari has been facing such bogus cases and harassment since last many years. He was kept in prisons, basic medical facilities were denied till his health deteriorated, his name is on the Exit Control List, his movements have been restricted, how long such victimization will continue,” she said.

She added: “NAB follows draconian laws for specific objectives to harass, suppress and oppress, the role and functioning of NAB have become highly controversial.” Moreover, the conduct, character, merit and eligibility of its officials are in also in question, she maintained.  The PPP leader said an inquiry against Chairman NAB’s personal conduct and character is pending since the last few months.  “Regretfully, at a time when UNSC President is visiting Pakistan, the basic fundamental, constitutional and legal rights of a Former President of Pakistan are denied and compromised by the Imran Khan regime,” she stated.