ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan People’s Party will not get any relief in corruption cases despite the hue and cry by Asif Ali Zardari and others, official sources said yesterday.

On Wednesday, enraged Zardari – the PPP co-Chairman - blasted the National Accountability Bureau accusing it of targeting his party. NAB earlier had announced to start inquiries against three former ministers belonging to the PPP.

Former Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, former Federal Communications Minister Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan and former Balochistan Minister for Excise and Taxation Mohammed Amin Umrani were named in the NAB notice issued after a meeting. Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan’s wife Asma Alamgir – a former legislator - will also face the music.

The NAB announcement infuriated Zardari and other PPP leaders. Zardari ridiculed NAB saying they were singling out his party and could not see any corruption elsewhere.

A senior minister told The Nation that the government was not pushing NAB to take action against any party or individual. “This is a thing of the past. These types of institutions were used to settle political scores but now this doesn’t work. NAB works independently and investigates independently,” he added.

The minister said the government can only sympathise with Zardari and other PPP leaders but cannot interfere in NAB working. “If we try to help the PPP leaders, the whole accountability system will seem scripted,” he explained.

The minister insisted the NAB action has nothing to do with Zardari’s call to end the politics of reconciliation. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was against political vendetta wanted to work with all the parties for the prosperity of the country.

Wednesday’s decision by NAB to act against former PPP ministers comes when the party is already in trouble. The arrest of Zardari’s close aide Dr Asim Hussain angered many in the PPP. Besides, top party leaders including former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf also face corruption charges.

Zardari too is in the net. Although the PPP leader has never been convicted, he has spent eight years in prison on corruption charges. When released in 2004, he suggested the time in prison involved torture.

Senior PPP leader Senator Taj Haider said NAB was crossing its limits when dealing with the accused. “The PPP is against corruption and wants the culprits to be punished but the action should not look politically motivated,” he added.

The Senator said NAB was threatening the provincial autonomy by taking direct actions without seeking permission from the chief minister.

He claimed NAB was proactive against the PPP only and ignoring corruption by others. Citing Makhdoom Amin Fahim’s example, he said, “NAB is targeting a bed-ridden person. He is not an absconder but fighting for his life. This shows NAB is targeting him and our party.”