RAWALPINDI: Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on Monday appeared before an accountability court in the fake bank accounts case.
Accountability Judge Arshad Malik extended interim bail granted to the PPP leaders till April 16.
At the outset of the hearing, Advocate Farooq H Naek, who represented the PPP leaders, pointed to the overcrowded courtroom, asking the judge to grant the former president and his sister exemption from personal appearance to avoid this situation and ensure smooth trial in the case.
However, the judge directed Zardari and his sister to ensure their appearance on the next hearing.
Meanwhile, two accused – Kiran and Noreen – submitted applications seeking to become approver in the case. They submitted that they were witnesses but added to the list of the accused in the case.
Special security arrangements were made to avoid any untoward incident on the occasion of the appearance of the PPP leaders in the court. More than 1,500 security personnel, including those from Rangers, special branch and traffic, were deployed around the court premises.
No unauthorised person was allowed to enter the court during the hearing.
Strict security arrangements were made in light of skirmishes between the police and PPP workers at the NAB’s old headquarters in Rawalpindi where the former president and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had appeared to record their statement last month.
Zardari, his sister and other accused are facing charges of laundering more than Rs35 billion through fake bank accounts. Zardari’s close aides Hussain Lawai and Anwar Majeed have also been nominated in the scam. They both are in judicial custody.
Last month, a banking court in Karachi transferred the money laundering case against the former president, his sister and others to Rawalpindi on a request by NAB.
The court also cancelled the interim bail of the 19 suspects, including the PPP leaders in the case. The court directed the authorities to return surety amount to the suspects.
Earlier, on March 28, an Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench, comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, had approved pre-arrest bail for the PPP co-chairman and his sister against a surety of Rs1 million each.
The bench also issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit its response until April 10.