Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: The two-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar clarified that neither was Zardari summoned in person today nor was the brother-sister duo placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Resuming hearing its suo motu notice into the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) probe of a Rs35 billion money-laundering scam on Thrusday, the chief justice directed the FIA not to summon the brother-sister duo till the election.
On Wednesday, Zardari and Faryal had informed the FIA in Karachi that they would reply to its notice in the scam after the July 25 election.
The bench also wondered that since Zardari is just a suspect, how could he be placed on the ECL.
Chief Justice Nisar remarked that it will direct the FIA not to display bias against anyone during the investigation as it only seeks a transparent inquiry into the corruption scandal.
During today’s proceedings, the chief justice remarked that the defence counsels should have approached the apex court if they had reservations about the top court’s orders.
CJP then inquired from the attorney general that if its order doesn’t mention Zardari’s placement on the ECL, how such reports were aired in the media.The chief justice added that only those persons were ordered to be on the no-fly list who have criminal cases registered against them.
The hearing was later adjourned until August 6.
After the hearing, Zardari’s counsel Farooq Naek told the media that the bench observed that it does not want the election transparency affected.
“This is all being done to bring a bad name to the PPP,” he claimed, referring to the mega scandal.
Naek also clarified that the PPP supremo has no association with Zardari Pvt Ltd — which is being probed by the FIA in the scam.
Moreover, Naek said he informed the court of their reservations against FIA’s joint investigation team head Najam Mirza, adding that the chief justice has assured them that he will keep these issues in mind.
Answering a question, Naek blamed the media for “creating a hype” about the ECL issue. He, however, admitted that there was confusion in the earlier order of the court regarding the placement of names on the ECL, which has now been clarified.
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money-laundering from fictitious accounts, under which Zardari’s close aide and Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Hussain Lawai was also arrested earlier this week.
Speaking during an interview on Wednesday, Asif Ali Zardari said that he will face the bogus cases like he did in the past, adding that he was sent a notice of Rs150 million rather than the propagated Rs35 billion.
Zardari also said that it was the time for election, not for accountability, and that his party would not boycott the forthcoming polls. He added that accountability should take place either before or after election season.
“We won’t give anyone opportunity by boycotting the election,” he added.
Rejecting the allegations against him, the PPP supremo said he has face cases before and will do so again.
The FIA inquiry was started after the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a ‘suspicious transaction report’ in January this year regarding ten bank accounts. Sources maintain that over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at a private bank were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015.