The National Accountability Bureau is closing in on pressing charges against Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and other accused in a mega money laundering case, as it submitted a final copy of the reference to an accountability court on Thursday.
In January, the Supreme Court had sent the case pertaining to laundering of several billion rupees from fictitious bank accounts to NAB for investigation.
The matter was taken up by the court over a delay in a 2015 Federal Investigation Agency probe into money laundering via fake accounts. The anti-graft body named Zardari, his sister MNA Faryal Talpur and several others in the reference.
During the hearing on Thursday, the accused, Nimr Majeed, Zulqarnain Majeed and Ali Kamal Majeed, filed a plea for their acquittal. They stated they had nothing to do with the case.
The court sought a reply from NAB on the plea filed by the three accused.
Zardari once again appeared before the court, wherein he could not hold back from expressing himself after seeing the other accused handcuffed.
“Whatever verdict is announced by the court, NAB should treat [the accused] in a good way,” Zardari said.
Accused Abdul Ghani Majeed filed a plea for medical treatment.
Judge Arshad Malik remarked why not shift NAB’s headquarters to some hospital. “Whoever is arrested in this case, falls sick,” he said.
To this, Zardari replied: “We are not that weak, sahib. I was kept in solitary confinement for 13 years, but nothing happened to me.”
Judge Malik told the former president that everyone was not like him. “A few individuals take on a lion, while others are scared of a snake.”
Zardari responded, “That’s true, our prime minister is even scared of lizards.”
The PPP chairperson reiterated his statement while speaking to reporters outside the courtroom. “Tie this prime minister up for a day in a police station and leave a lizard inside. Then see, how he comes out.”
Meanwhile, the defence counsel expressed concern over the absence of accused Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza at the hearing, so much so, that he questioned if NAB had “murdered” them.
The anti-graft body submitted the final copy of the reference. The court ordered providing the copies to the accused for indictment.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until July 8.