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Two accused willing to become approvers against Asif Zardari-Faryal Talpur

08 April, 2019

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ISLAMABAD:  Two of the accused expressed their willingness before an accountability court in Islamabad to become approvers against PPP President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.

The case was earlier being heard in a banking court in Karachi but had been shifted to an accountability court in Islamabad upon an appeal by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Zardari, Talpur and others accused nominated in the case appeared before the court amid amid tight security.

Two women, Kiran Aman and Noreen Sultan, are among 24 accused persons that NAB has nominated in the case. They told the court that they are ready to testify as witnesses, and had filed an application before NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal, but the bureau named them as accused instead.

The accountability judge asked NAB to verify using the case record if Kiran and Noreen had informed the court of their willingness to testify in the case against the other accused persons.

Zardari, while talking to reporters as he sat in court, said he was seated in the same chair former premier Nawaz Sharif used to sit in during his trial in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references. Zardari described Nawaz Sharif as "a noble man" and himself as "a humble one".

He added that the establishment should be asked about the trial of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

Meanwhile, police arrested two female workers of the PPP from outside the federal judicial complex as they were trying to enter into the accountability court to witness the appearance of their leaders.

The case had been transferred from Karachi to an accountability court in the capital on the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) appeal. The Sindh High Court had rejected appeals against the decision.

Security in the capital was put on high alert, with at least 1,650 security officials deployed within and around the judicial complex to avoid any untoward situation during the hearing.

A police official told said that 1,500 police officials, including the anti-riot force, commandos and women officials will be deployed, along with Rangers, Special Branch and Traffic Police officials.

Last month, when PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father appeared before the accountability court, PPP workers had clashed with police, leading to at least 20 workers being arrested, while cases were registered against 70 workers including Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Raja Shakil Abbasi. Nine police officials and a journalist were injured in the tussle.

The FIA had named Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and over 10 others as suspects in an interim charge sheet filed in the banking court in August 2018 for alleged money laundering to the tune of over Rs4 billion after 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts were found opened in three banks — Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Ltd.

On March 15, 2019, a banking court had granted NAB's request to transfer the case to the accountability court in Rawalpindi for trial.

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