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Asif Zardari to join anti-govt movement with JUI-F

30 April, 2019

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Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo Asif Ali Zardari on Monday announced to join the anti-government movement being initiated by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Responding to reporters’ questions following his appearance before an accountability court in connection to the mega money laundering and fake bank accounts case, the former president said the PPP will join Fazlur Rehman’s forthcoming campaign against the present government. “Insha Allah, we will be joining the political movement of Maulana Fazlur Rehman,” he said. “I do not think that the [present] government will be able to complete its five years,” he added.

When asked if he supports former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea seeking permission for medical treatment in London, he replied, “May Allah Almighty grant health to everyone. If need be, then he will go. Where [else] will he go?” Zardari also took aim at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying that either the watchdog will work, or the economy. “The question is, either NAB will work or the economy. Both cannot work together,” he said.

The fake accounts case against Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur strengthened on Monday as one more accused expressed willingness to become an approver.

On Monday, the Zardari siblings appeared in Judge Arshad Malik’s courtroom. NAB informed the court that Sher Muhammad, an accused, had filed a request to become an approver. The prosecutor added that the bureau was processing his, Noreen Sultan and Kiran Aman’s applications to become approvers in the matter.

During the hearing, the judge sought an explanation over Lawai’s absence from the courtroom. NAB prosecutor said the bureau had written to Sindh chief secretary twice seeking Lawai’s appearance in court but received no reply. The judge directed the NAB to take up the matter with the Sindh government as the accountability court contacts Sindh High Court over it.

Meanwhile, the single-judge bench granted 10-day extension in pre-arrest bail to Zardari and Talpur against surety bonds worth Rs 2 million. The hearing has been adjourned till May 9.

Separately, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday extended the pre-arrest interim bail of Zardari and his sister Talpur till May 15. A two-judge bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani heard the petitions of the PPP leaders whose pre-arrest bail was to expire on Monday.

To a question, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that the bureau’s chairman had issued arrest warrants for Zardari only in the Park Lane case. The bench directed the NAB to submit a written reply, explaining how many inquiries has the bureau been carrying out against the former president. The FIA is investigating 32 people, including Zardari and Talpur, in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts.

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