Asif Ali Zardari, former President of Pakistan, who is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is reportedly being denied some medical facilities. According to Sardar Latif Khosa, former Punjab governor and counsel for Zardari, the former president was not being provided facilities of air conditioner, fridge and personal attendant in jail. He also rejected speculations that Zardari was willing to return money to come out of the jail. Khosa said that there was nothing like that and the former president was being targeted for political reasons.
According to details, Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, Sardar Khosa, Shahbaz Khosa, and Shazia Khosa met the former president in Adiala jail on Monday.
— Qamar Zaman Kaira (@QamarKairaPPP) August 30, 2019
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Sardar Khosa warned the government that if anything happened to Mr. Zardari in prison, then the PPP would take action against the PTI government and punish it like never before.
“The government is not providing him an air conditioner, fridge and personal attendant despite the court order. This kind of treatment is not meted out even in a dictatorship,” he said. He added that the situation was so grave that the assistant commissioners were saying that they were helpless and could not arrange a meeting of lawyers with the former president.
The NAB officials need to be more careful at a time when joint opposition is certain to initiate organized propaganda against the anti-corruption drive led by PM Khan and term is as “politically motivated accountability of political opponents”.
He regretted that the NAB asks questions from the former President on a daily basis but does not provide him with basic facilities. “Every day the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) delivers a ‘love letter’ to the former president and asks for answers to a few questions but does not provide basic facilities which a patient requires and the court has clear orders in this regard,” Mr. Khosa added. He said that Mr. Zardari had been kept in NAB’s custody for 68 days and after that, he was shifted to prison.
Mr. Khosa categorically denied media reports that Zardari had agreed to return any money. “That was a false and concocted news story. We do not have any ill-gotten money so the question does not arise,” said Mr. Khosa. He added that political victimization was apparent because there was no case whatsoever.
If anything happens to former President Asif Ali Zardari in prison then PPP will take action against PTI govt and will punish it like never before: Sardar Latif Khosa https://t.co/p92lvyrCYm
— PPP Info Bureau (@PPPInfoBureau) September 3, 2019
However, some sources claim that the former President and Nawaz Sharif who is serving 7 years sentence have offered to return money if the government decides to release them. Prime Minister Imran Khan has said more than once that he will release both leaders if they decide to return the money they have looted. At the same time, he refused to offer NRO.
Allegations against former President
Former President Asif Ali Zardari is facing many accusations of money laundering, fake bank accounts, misuse of authority and Benami properties. He has rejected all the allegations but the government is firm on its version and committed to proceed.
PPP has repeatedly maintained that the former President is innocent but without offering any reliable documentary evidence which is demanded by the media, sane public and courts. This convinces political analysts that the PPP desires to focus on creating public narrative to seek sympathy without bothering to surface any evidence.
Read more: Smog over Pakistan’s horizon
Recently, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar has said that the government would take legal action against 32 Benami companies of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. Akbar was addressing a press conference along with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the PM’s special assistant said the 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.
Both made it clear that the government would continue taking action against money laundering, Benami properties. They said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would now receive the briefing on fortnightly and monthly basis.
Shahzad Akbar said as per law, all Benami properties of Zardari would be confiscated if he failed to produce documents concerning the legality of such properties within 60 days. While sharing details, he said these Benami companies included sugar mills, trading companies, construction companies, cement factory, automobile manufacturing companies, holding companies, consulting firms, gas companies etc.
— Pakistan News (@pakistaninews) September 2, 2019
Experts and political analysts believe that the NAB needs to focus more on finding evidence against the arrested politicians (allegedly involved in mega corruption cases) and less on such insignificant developments which cause public disapproval of the institution. The NAB officials need to be more careful at a time when joint opposition is certain to initiate organized propaganda against the anti-corruption drive led by PM Khan and term is as “politically motivated accountability of political opponents”.
The legal counsel for the former President has maintained that there was no point in thinking of any deal between Zardari and the government. He maintained that the former president was being targeted for political reasons, “there is no question of returning the money,” he said.