Islamabad - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Tuesday submitted reply to the Islamabad High Court over the ongoing investigations against ex-president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talp.

A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani is hearing the petitions moved by the leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The former president and his sister moved the court making respondents the NAB chairman and investigative officer.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzzaffar Ahmed Khan submitted the reply to the court. The same was also sent to Zardari’s defence team.

In his plea for pre-arrest bail, the former president had requested the court to seek details of the number of cases against him as he wanted the details to be prepared for pre-emptive measures fearing arrest.

The NAB reply stated that anti-graft watchdog is conducting investigations on the directions of the Supreme Court and not with any pre-determined mind.

Tells IHC it’s not probing any case with pre-determined mind

“During the proceedings of inquiry/ investigations, whenever any person is found having knowledge, information or any kind of nexus with the case, he/she is called upon through notice and is duly informed about his role and connection with the matter. Therefore, before the finalisation of inquiry/investigation, it cannot be categorically concluded that the petitioner may not have any role in any inquiry/investigation other than those mentioned in the enclosed lists,” said the NAB reply.

In the report, NAB listed down at least eight cases where Zardari’s link had been established. According to the report, at least 22 inquiries and three investigations are underway while three references have been filed in the fake accounts case.

NAB mentioned 11 petitions seeking pre-arrest bail and information in the State vs Hussain Lawai case, two pre-arrest and one post-arrest bail petition in the State vs Muhammad Hussain Syed case, four pre-arrest bail applications in the State vs Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed case, and four pre-arrest and one post-arrest bail petitions in the State vs Ejaz Ahmed Khan case. It also listed down another 12 writ petitions filed in different courts.

It said that a total of 35 petitions have been filed in the fake accounts case at the moment. The bureau, in its report, has made it clear that the number of inquiries and investigation may vary as the probe is continued.

Previously, the IHC dual bench had extended interim bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till May 15 (today) in the case pertaining to laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts.

A total of five applications were filed by the PPP leaders’ counsel team – four by Zardari and one by Talpur. The petitions sought pre-arrest bail to pre-empt any attempt by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take them into custody.

The IHC granted bail against surety bonds of Rs1 million each per each application. In their petitions, they prayed to the court to restrain the bureau from arresting them.

In the identical petitions, the former president stated that NAB had served a call-up notice on him to appear on March 20 before a combined investigation team to record his statement with respect to investigation into fake bank accounts.

He added that in order to safeguard himself from mala fide and illegal arrest at the hands of NAB and law enforcing agencies of the country and to enable him to surrender before the competent court of law, he had filed a constitutional petition before the Sindh High Court for protective bail. The SHC on March 19 approved protective bail for him for 10 ten days, he said.

Zardari said that he also appeared before the NAB team which after interrogating him for one hour handed him a questionnaire with the direction to submit reply to the same within ten days.

“At the moment petitioner is not aware that how many cases are registered against him and how many Call Up notices will be issued to him and /or references may be filed against him by the respondents. Till date three Call Up Notices have been issued by the respondents to the petitioner,” said the petition.

“There is every possibility that if petitioner appears before NAB authorities in connection with a Call Up Notice, he may be entangled and arrested in some other case,” the petitioner added.

The petitioner continued that he apprehend his arrest at the hands of the respondents on the basis of Call Up Notices.

Therefore, Zardari requested the court to grant him bail before arrest and in the meanwhile, interim bail before arrest may be granted to the petitioner. He also prayed to the court to direct respondent NAB authorities to submit list of all cases against the petitioner.