PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (File photo)
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (File photo)

Money laundering case: PPP to hold nationwide protests against Zardari's arrest

ANI | Updated: Jun 11, 2019 03:12 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Jun 11 (ANI): The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) is set to hold country-wide protests after former President Asif Ali Zardari was arrested in connection with a money laundering case.
The decision was made during the party's executive committee meeting that took place late on Monday. Speaking after the meet, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that he would "make the government an offer".
"Bring a people-friendly budget. I will support it. We have always taken democratic steps for the people. But you will bring a budget that is an enemy of the people ('awam dushman' budget). You are threatening my workers, my family, you arrested my father. If you bring such a budget, I will show you what a protest is," The Dawn quoted Bilawal as saying while attacking the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Zardari's arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came hours after Islamabad High Court had rejected his application seeking an extension of the pre-arrest bail.
A 15-member team of the country's top anti-corruption body, accompanied by police personnel, arrested the PPP co-chairman from his residence in Islamabad.
Bilawal said that his party will bring judicial reform and raise human rights issues at every forum. "We are ready to take any step," he added.
A demonstration has been called on Tuesday at Karachi's Hassan Square to protest against Zardari's arrest, the PPP's media cell said.
"The PPP has decided to set up a contact committee and run a mass contact campaign, for which a schedule and process will be determined after consensus formation and engagement with leaders," Bilawal said.
Zardari, president of Pakistan from 2008 until 2013, and his sister Faryal Talpur have been found guilty of money laundering through fictitious accounts. The two now have the option of appealing the order in the Supreme Court.
The case pertains to suspicious transactions worth Rs 4.4 billion allegedly carried out through a fictitious bank account.
In January last year, the Federation Investigation Agency (FIA) began an inquiry when the State Bank of Pakistan's financial monitoring unit issued a "suspicious transaction report" on 10 bank accounts.
Transactions worth billions were made over the years when over 20 bogus accounts were opened at a private bank.
Bilawal alleged that he was not allowed to speak National Assembly, following his father's arrest and demanded the resignations of Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri.
"Three of the government members got the chance to speak but I was denied to speak in the house. I condemn the attitude of the National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker. I demand that they resign from their posts because they are not impartial. They act like an extension of the government," he said.
The PPP chairperson asserted that his father had turned himself in as he wanted to exercise his right to a fair trial.
Slamming the Imran Khan-led government over its 'Naya Pakistan' vision, Bilawal said, "We have never hidden behind arrests or cases. What's the difference between this Naya (new) Pakistan and the Pakistan of retired General Pervez Musharraf or that of General Ayub Khan? People were silenced then and the same is happening now."
"When the government is selected and weak, it is scared of criticism -- whether the criticism is from me, Zardari, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz or Manzoor Pashteen," he was quoted as saying.
At least 32 people are under the FIA legal scanner for laundering money from fictitious accounts. Zardari, however, had denied such allegations.
Zardari spent time in jail in the 1990s and 2000s and was even nicknamed "Mr 10 per cent" for the commissions he allegedly received on government contracts. (ANI)