LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday granted bail to PPP leader Qasim Zia in a case of stock market fraud of Rs100 million.

Zia’s counsel had alleged the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took his client into custody without initiating any inquiry. He added Zia was being politically victimised and had left company in 2008, and there was no liability on the company. He requested the court to order his release on bail.

The NAB officials, however, opposed the bail saying that they had arrested him after they received complaints against him. They told the bench the interrogation was in process, therefore, Mr Zia should not be released on bail. After hearing both sides, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mahmood Maqbool Bajwa granted bail to Qasim Zia . The court has directed Qasim Zia to submit a surety bond of Rs100,000 against the bail. Qasim Zia was arrested by NAB on Aug 8 for his alleged involvement in cheating the public at large, misappropriating, embezzling funds and breaching trust of people.

NAB also took Muhammad Usman Saeed, the other director of the company, into custody. The bureau had alleged that Zia and Saeed sold fraudulent shares to several clients through their company Ali Usman Securities, “depriving the general public of their hard earned money”.

More than 80 victims of the fraud filed complaints against the PPP leader and his associate, prompting the NAB DG to launch a formal inquiry.

The former president of the PPP wing in Punjab, Qasim Zia , served as a member of the Punjab Assembly from 2002 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2013. He was elected from PP-59 Faisalabad-IX.

Zia also functioned as the leader of the opposition in his earlier term as a provincial legislator. Between 2008 and 2013, the PPP leader also served as the president of the Pakistan Hockey Federation.