Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari was arrested from his Islamabad residence on Monday in connection with a fake bank accounts case. Zardari was held by the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, soon after the Islamabad High Court rejected his plea seeking protection from arrest in the case. His sister Faryal Talpur is a co-accused in the case.
Pakistani news website Dawn reported that a warrant for Zaradari’s arrest was issued on Sunday. However, no warrant has been issued for Talpur as yet.
The case pertains to a serious of suspicious transactions worth Rs 4.4 billion allegedly carried out through multiple fictitious bank accounts. Zardari is accused of receiving payments to the tune of Rs 30 million from the purported fake accounts.
His son and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has appealed to party supporters to remain peaceful.
In recent weeks, the party had accused Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government of intentionally targeting political opponents.
“This is political victimization,” said Shazia Marri, a lawmaker from Zardari’s party.
The anti-graft body has arrested several politicians and businessmen on corruption charges since Khan took office last year after winning a narrow majority in parliamentary elections.
Khan’s predecessor, Nawaz Sharif who was removed from office by the Supreme Court over corruption allegations, is currently in prison in the eastern city of Lahore after being sentenced to seven years in a corruption case.
Sharif and Zardari’s are longtime political rivals but their parties recently joined together, vowing to launch a protest campaign against Khan’s government over increasing inflation and a spike in prices of essential food items.
Zardari became president in 2008 after Pakistan’s former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was forced to resign. Zardari’s wife Benazir Bhutto served twice as a prime minister before being killed by the Taliban in 2007.
The Bhutto family has been dogged by tragedy. The party’s founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was ousted in a military coup and hanged by dictator Gen. Ziaul Haq. Both his sons were killed by unknown assailants. Benazir Bhutto’s only surviving sibling, her sister Sanam, lives in Britain and has stayed out of politics.
With AP inputs