Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari who was arrested from his Islamabad residence last week in connection with a fake bank accounts case, asked court to end his arrest as it would instill fear among people.
Zardari, who was held by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, soon after the Islamabad High Court rejected his plea seeking protection from arrest in the case appeared before the house after the National Assembly Secretariat issued a production order to attend Parliament session.
The case pertains to a series 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.
Geo News reported him saying that it’s time to stop the accountability and arrests as it would not make any difference.
“My arrest will not make a difference. It will only strengthen the party. However, it will create fear among the common man that if Zardari can be arrested then they can also be arrested,” Zardari said.
The production order states that, NBA is required to produce Zardari at the “commencement of each sitting of the National Assembly before the Seargeant-at-Arms at the Parliament House, Islamabad, who shall, after the conclusion of the sittings deliver him into your custody accordingly”.
Speaking upon the emaciated, debt-ridden economy of the country, Zardari said that there would be protests if the country’s economic situation continues to deteriorate.
“They should think about this and the forces that brought them into power should also think about the consequences,” the former president said and asked the government to avoid taking steps that could trigger countrywide protests and create a situation that would no longer be in control of the political parties.
“There is fear among the businessmen. If you have more than Rs 500,000 in your cheque book, then you receive a notice to give an explanation for it. There is no doubt that this budget was not made by them,” he said, criticizing the budget presented by the country last week.
As Pakistan reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)on a $6 billion bailout to rescue its grappling economy, Zardari asked, “If we are receiving money from the IMF, why are the people crying? Why are the industries crying?”
Pakistan economy has been struggling for survival for long. The IMF forecasts Pakistan’s economic growth will slow to 2.9 per cent this fiscal year from 5.2 per cent in 2018. In February, central bank had only $8 billion left in foreign reserves.
The former president suggested the government and the opposition to sit together to dicuss the issues affecting the economy.
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.
Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur 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, however, has denied any link with the fake accounts. He alleged the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party for maligning the opposition leaders.