Asif Ali Zardari, former President and co-chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has finally been indicted by an accountability court in Park Lane reference. The hearing was conducted by AC Judge Azam Khan. Asif Ali Zardari, Anwar Majeed along with nine accused were indicted in the reference via video link hearing.
Pakistan’s anti-graft court indicts former President Asif Ali Zardari on charges of corruption https://t.co/9GnwoREPq9
— Bloomberg Asia (@BloombergAsia) August 10, 2020
Asif Zardari joined the indictment proceedings via video link from Bilawal House Karachi, Anwar Majeed from a hospital in Karachi while three other accused, Farooq Abdullah, Hanif, and Saleem Faisal joined the video link proceedings from Karachi.
The accused refused to accept charge sheet and termed it baseless.
Zardari’s benami properties
PPP completely rejected the claims of the government that Asif Ali Zardari has any Benami properties or any link in Park Lane reference. The government estimated that around 32 properties belonging to the former president, which is to be confiscated soon.
PPP Information Secretary Senator Moula Bux Chandio held a press conference and said that the party categorically denies that Zardari owned any Benami properties. He challenged the government to approach the court if it had evidence in this regard rather than holding press conferences.
Chandio highlighted that the former president has declared whatever is in his possession. He repeatedly challenged the government to approach the court of law if there is any verification against the PPP co-chairman. Chandio also denied Zardari’s involvement in Park Lane reference.
It is worth noting that the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar, has declared that the government will take legal action against the 32 Benami companies under Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
Akbar addressed a press conference along with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the PM’s special assistant said strict action would be taken against Benami properties as per the law of the country and the money recovered from such properties and companies would be deposited to the national exchequer.
Moreover, he claimed several benami plots in posh areas of Karachi had also been identified. He mentioned how the JIT [joint investigation team] report had pointed out that Asif Zardari “remained involved in toppling the state systems by establishing even a bank without implementing legal formalities and paying capital”.
The government would soon start confiscating the properties of sons and sons-in-law of the Sharif family who have been declared as proclaimed offenders by the court. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Zaidi, mentioned that the country’s wealth was shifted abroad through money laundering schemes, causing huge losses to the national exchequer.
He commented that Asif Zardari had established sugar mills and other properties by threatening the citizens and people, adding how Uzair Baloch had also accepted that Zardari made all his properties and assets by using his influence or through threats.
It is yet to be seen if the government shall take further actions or share details with the media about the undeclared Benami properties of Asif Ali Zardari and his role in Park Lane reference.