NAB issues fresh arrest warrants for Zardari in land case
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has issued fresh arrest warrants for former president Asif Ali Zardari in a case relating to the Park Laneland.
As the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman is already in NAB custody on physical remand until July 2, confusion prevails whether only fresh arrest warrants have been issued or he has been arrested in connection with the case. He was arrested in June after the cancellation of his prearrest bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts and money laundering case.
According to sources in the anti-graft watchdog, Mr Zardari`s fresh arrest warrants in the Park Lane land case were issued by NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal who, as per the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, can order the arrest of an accused at any time.
A day af ter his arrest in the fake bank accounts case on June 10, accountability court judge Mohammad Arshad Malik had granted NAB physical remand of the former president. The PPP co-chairman`s physical remand was extended on June 21.
On June 26, Mr Zardari had withdrawn his bail applications in three references Park Lane, Tosha Khana luxury vehicles and bulletproof vehicles. He had said he knew why he was suffering and did not want to embarrass anyone.
As per the prosecution, the Park Lane land case is being investigated under different sections of the NAO 1999 and AntiMoney Laundering Act 2010 for Mr Zardari`s alleged involvement in extending loan and its misappropriation by M/s Parthenon Private Limited, M/s Park Lane Estate Private Limited and others.
Talking to Dawn, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, a spokesman for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, claimed that no illegality had been committed in the purchase of the Park Laneland located in Shah Allah Ditta, Islamabad, as it had already been cleared by the Islamabad High Court. He said Mr Bhutto-Zardari had nothing to do with the case as the latter was made shareholder of the Park Lane firm when he was only one year old. `Mr Bilawal will not seek bail, if he is arrested in the case,` the spokesman added.
He said that 80 kanals of the 2,100kanal land were forest. He said Mr Zardari had two years ago filed an application with the Islamabad chief commissioner, seeking fresh demarcation of the land so that the forest land could be ascertained, but there was no response from the local administration in this regard.
Reference against PPP senator NAB has also filed a reference against PPP Senator Robina Khalid, a former chief executive of private firm Cosmos Productions, Mazhar-u-Islam, ex-executive director of Lok Virsa, Islamabad, and Dr Tabinda Zafar, incumbent chief executive director of the Cosmos Productions.
According to NAB, Mazhar-u-Islam is accused of illegally extending contracts in favour of the Cosmos Productions in connivance with Robina Khalid and Tabinda Zafar. The accused gained illegal benefits by getting the agreement extended without calling fresh tenders/without any competition and also failed to deposit the 50 per cent profit earned by them, which resulted in a loss of Rs30.13 million to the national exchequer.
Ex-PM chargesheeted An accountability court on Monday chargesheeted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and others in the Reshma Rental Power Plant and Gulf Power Generation Company Limited cases. However, the accused pleaded not guilty.
Subsequently, the court directed the prosecution to lay evidence against them and summoned prosecution witnesses on Aug 7.
Mr Ashraf is accused of misusing his authority during his tenure as minister for water and power by getting approval f rom the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet for an increase in the advance payment for installation of rental power projects.