Asif Zardari withdraws plea for bail in three corruption cases
Islamabad, June 26 (PTI): Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday withdrew his petitions for bail in three cases while questioning their legitimacy, according to a media report.
The decision to withdraw the petitions was conveyed by Zardari himself after he sought the judges’ permission to address the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The 63-year-old former president told the bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani that he wanted to take back the bail pleas in the Park Lane company, bulletproof cars, and Toshakhana cases.
The charges centre around allegations that Zardari laundered vast sums of money through suspect bank accounts and companies.
He questioned the legitimacy of the cases filed against him and said he was well aware of the reasons for his victimisation.
“I know why I am standing here before the court, he said. My lawyers are capable and have faith in the court, he said. But no matter how many times I obtain bail in these cases, the National Accountability Bureau will come up with new ones to arrest me in, said the former president.
“False cases have been filed against me. I know what my actual crimes were and why I stand before you today. I am no stranger to injustices; I have spent many years in prison and am ready to bear this injustice too,” said Zardari.
Since the National Accountability Bureau had earlier issued warrants for the former president’s arrest in the Park Lane case, the bureau will formalise Zardari’s arrest in that case at some point in the future, The Express Tribune reported.
On June 18, the IHC, in its detailed judgement on the PPP co-chairperson’s bail plea, stated that the NAB had no ulterior motive to arrest Zardari.
In their written order, Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, said Zardari’s arrest was based on the need for further investigation of the accused and, as such, there was no ulterior motive on the anti-graft bureau’s part.
The judgment stated that the argument that the NAB chairman does not have authority or jurisdiction in the matter was “without substance”.
The court maintained that the Supreme Court has fixed a standard for bail in the NAB cases in the Avenfield case. The apex court’s decision also applies to the pre-arrest bail case, it added.
Former president Zardari was arrested by the NAB on June 10 after the IHC recalled the pre-arrest bail granted to him and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake accounts case.
Zardari and his sister are two of the main accused in the money laundering scandal which utilised fake bank accounts to channel illegally gained funds out of Pakistan.
Zardari, the 11th President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013, has denied any link with the fake accounts. He has said the allegation was part of a vilification campaign by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to malign the Opposition leaders.