Ex-Pakistan President Zardari produced in court, anti-graft body seeks physical remand

Islamabad: Pakistan’s former president Asif Ali Zardari was produced before an accountability court here on Tuesday by the anti-graft body seeking his physical remand, a day after he was arrested from his residence in the fake bank accounts case.

A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accompanied by police, including female officials, arrested the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman hours after the Islamabad High Court rejected his bail plea.

Prior to his arrival at the court on Tuesday, a three-member team of doctors conducted a medical examination of the former president. According to the NAB sources, Zardari was found to be fit for physical remand.

Zardari, 63, 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.  According to the NAB officials, the duo made transactions of Rs 150 million through alleged fake bank accounts. 

The arrest warrants were issued on Sunday by the NAB, the anti-corruption watchdog, which is probing them in the fake bank accounts case. 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 opposition leaders.

He was elected as a member of the National Assembly from the NA-213 Nawabshah seat of Sindh province in last year’s general election. Zardari’s arrest prompted a strong reaction from the Opposition and sporadic protests by PPP workers in various parts of the country, mostly in the party-ruled Sindh province.

Terming his father’s arrest an act of “political victimisation” by the government, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the Constitution guarantees the right of a fair trial to every citizen. He appealed to party workers to remain calm and wait for party directives.