Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari arrested
A 15-member team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of Pakistan, accompanied by police personnel, arrested Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari from his residence in Islamabad on Monday.
The arrest came hours after the Islamabad High Court rejected an application seeking extension in the pre-arrest bails of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake accounts case.
A number of party workers as well as two of Zardari's children — PPP Chairperson Bilawal and youngest daughter Aseefa — saw the former president off as he left from Zardari House in Islamabad to the NAB Rawalpindi office in a black bulletproof vehicle.
Both Zardari and Talpur had left the court building when the two-member bench reserved its verdict. While NAB already had warrants for Zardari, no arrest warrant has been for Talpur as yet.
According to Geo News
, NAB had informed the National Assembly speaker through a letter that it was going to execute the warrants against Zardari issued by the NAB chairman.
Following the refusal of bail, the accountability watchdog constituted two teams for the arrest of the former president; one team was dispatched to Parliament House and another to Zardari House in Islamabad, officials said.
A 15-member NAB team as well as male and female police personnel arrived at Zardari House while all roads leading to the residence were blocked as a security measure.
Zardari and Talpur now have the option of appealing the IHC judgment in the Supreme Court.
The case pertains to suspicious transactions worth Rs4.4 billion allegedly carried out through a fictitious bank account. According to the prosecution, the account titled M/s A One International was fake and it received a sum of Rs4.4bn out of which Rs30m was paid to the Zardari Group at two different times.
Soon after the verdict, the PPP called a consultative meeting to discuss the future legal options of Zardari and Talpur. According to sources, Zardari had called his legal team to the meeting to deliberate on whether to challenge the IHC judgement in the SC.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari urged party workers to remain calm. "The people have never accepted controversial court verdicts," he was quoted as saying.
"The PPP believes in the rule of law despite biased court decisions."
A number of PPP workers in Lahore protested against the IHC decision at Gulab Devi Chowk, Ferozepur Road and Garhi Shahu. They blocked the Metro Bus track, burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the government.