IHC adjourns hearing of Zardari, Talpur’s bail applications till Dec 11

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ISLAMABAD : The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday, while hearing former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s bail petitions in the money laundering through fake bank accounts and Park Lane corruption references, ordered medical superintendent of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to constitute a new special medical board comprising of the former president s personal physician.

The court adjourned the hearing till December 11.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Athar Minallah presided over the hearing of the bail applications filed by Farooq H Naek on behalf of both Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the federal government have been made respondents in the petitions.

The applications maintained that the NAB has failed to provide any evidence against the PPP leaders despite of their arrest from more than five months. The bail pleas further stated that the petitioners couldn’t be left at the mercy of jail authorities.

Yesterday, Mr Zardari filed two bail applications on medical grounds in two references whereas Talpur sought bail from the same court in one corruption reference, while pleading with the court that she was a mother of a differently-abled child, and therefore she needed to take care of that child.

Mr Zardari has maintained that he is suffering from a heart ailment and has had three stents placed in his body. He said that he also suffers from diabetes which means that he has to constantly monitor his blood sugar levels. His bail plea pleaded with the court to grant bail to the petitioner as he required medical care for 24 hours a day.

The PPP co-chairperson’s medical reports were submitted along with the application to the IHC.

Zardari, who has been detained on charges of money laundering through fake bank accounts and is presently undergoing treatment at the PIMS of Islamabad which has been declared a sub-jail, has purportedly agreed to file a bail plea on medical grounds at the “insistence of his family members.”

On Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, told the media during a brief news conference after meeting his ailing father at PIMS, that they have decided to move the court for the purpose.

Mr Bilawal said that the medical board constituted by the government has pointed out diseases of Zardari, but the former president had not earlier allowed them to file a petition for bail.

The PPP chairman said that Zardari has heeded to the request of his sister Asifa Bhutto to move court for his bail and now they would file a petition.

“(Former) president Zardari had stopped us from filing the bail petition which was a difficult situation for us, my sisters and the whole family. Now he has accepted Aseefa’s request and, Insha Allah, the PPP will apply for the bail on medical grounds after finalising it tomorrow (Tuesday),” he added.

Bilawal went on to say that his party won’t backtrack from its ideology, adding that the party had decided to hold a major event on the 12th death anniversary of his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto at Rawalpindi’s historic Liaquat Bagh — the place where she was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack on Dec 27, 2007.

On Nov. 12, an accountability court in Islamabad had rejected Zardari’s application for transferring him to Karachi for his ongoing medical treatment.

On July 29, an accountability court issued copies of the Park Lane reference against former president Asif Zardari which states that the Asif Zardari had taken Rs 1.5 billion loan from National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in the name of fake company Parthenon.

On July 1, the NAB had arrested Zardari in the Park Lane case while he was already in custody with the bureau’s Rawalpindi directorate in connection with the fake accounts case.

On June 26, Zardari had withdrawn his bail applications in three cases saying he knew why he was suffering and “does not want to embarrass anyone”.

He withdrew his applications seeking bail in Park Lane, Tosha Khana luxury vehicles and bulletproof vehicles references filed against him by NAB.

On June 10, Asif Ali Zardari had surrendered himself to a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after IHC rejected his and his sister Faryal Talpur’s pre-arrest bail plea in the money laundering case.

The accountability watchdog had arrested him in June after the cancellation of his pre-arrest bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case.

At that time, NAB had stated that it was proved during the investigation of the case that PPP leader had done corruption and money laundering with the help of his close aides. The NAB further had stated the loans were taken by showing fake documents and those loans were then used for personal gains.

According to the reference, Rs1.5 billion were taken in 2009 and Rs800 million were withdrawn in 2012. It had added that the NBP suffered loss of Rs3.77 billion due this fraud. It had further mentioned that Zardari as the president had forged documents to comply with the loan policy and coaxed the NBP into loan approval.

Asif Zardari was 25% share holder in Park Lane Company and he also made a fake company Parthenon in the name of his employees. Besides, a property was also bought in the IBC Center where the bureau has sealed eight floors.

As per the prosecution, the Park Lane case is being investigated under different sections of NAO 1999 and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 for Zardari’s alleged involvement “in extending loan and its misappropriation by M/S Parthenon Private Limited, M/S Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others”.

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