AC judge refuses to extend Zardari’s physical remand, sends him to prison

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An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday sent former president Asif Ali Zardari to prison after he was produced in the court in a money laundering case, his lawyers said.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in June in a case regarding money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts. The accountability watchdog had alleged that the former president, who ruled the country from 2008 to 2013, had been found directly involved in the illegal money transfer to other countries through fake bank accounts.

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Zardari denies the charges as politically motivated. The government, however; insists it has nothing to do with the case and NAB is an independent body to proceed against anyone. The former president was produced in the court on Friday morning after his physical remand expired under tight security.

A NAB prosecutor sought extension in Zardari’s physical remand as he claimed there is a progress in the investigation and NAB officials want further questioning of the former president. Zardari’s lawyer Latif Khosa opposed the NAB’s request and said Zardari has spent about 90 days in the NAB’s custody but the investigators could not find anything against his client.

The judge turned down NAB’s request and ordered shifting of Zardari to the prison on judicial remand until August 19. The judge sought a complete report about the case from the NAB prosecutor by August 19. NAB officials had earlier told the court that the bureau has enough evidence to prove Zardari, the main beneficiary of the fake bank accounts, guilty. Khosa requested the court to allow family members meet Zardari in jail and also provide medicines to him.

Earlier Zardari complained in the court that his daughter was not allowed to meet him despite the court’s order. He also filed an application to provide facilities to the former president in prison. The also court allowed Zardari to meet his daughter Aseefa Bhutto.