Lot of speculation is going on in the media about the possible outcome of JIT report for former president Asif Zardari his sister Faryal Talpur and other leaders of PPP and his close associates. Some in the media are even suggesting that Asif Zardari’s arrest is the matter of days. The name of young chairman of PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also appeared in the JIT report. But whatever one is saying is based on speculation and half-baked facts. We can say something after getting full details of JIT report.
This matter is really serious for the PPP leadership. Many questions have been raised not only on the political future of Asif Zardari but also on the Bilawal Bhutto. The future of PPP leadership now rests with Supreme Court and its future course of actions.
The JIT investigating the fake accounts and money laundering cases finally submitted their report in Supreme Court. The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will hear the case on 24 December. Supreme Court now will decide the future course of action in the light of JIT report. The Supreme Court can issue directions to NAB to file reference against all those mentioned in the JIT report. The Supreme Court can also ask the FIA or a new JIT to further investigate the matter.
The Supreme Court has the authority to start proceedings against accused directly in the Supreme Court to decide the matter themselves as it did in Nawaz Sharif’s case. It is now up to the Supreme Court that which course it wants to take. Whatever course Supreme Court decide to take, one thing is certain that former president Asif Zardari and her sister Faryal Talpur can land in serious trouble.
PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari’s recent rant against Chief Justice is a clear indication that he is under immense pressure and feeling the heat of ongoing investigations in different cases. Asif Zardari could be disqualified from politics like former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and then end up in prison. He spent many years in prison in the past and faced many cases in accountability courts. But not a single case was established against him and he was set free.
Asif Zardari is considered as most smart political player and maneuverer. He tried everything to please the powers that be to get relief in the cases under investigation. But his efforts failed to bring the desired results. Asif Zardari offered olive branch to the real powers of the country but got cold shoulder. His political maneuverings worked very well against political opponents but when it comes to the real powers of this country, he has been outmaneuvered.
He has the ability to put together the coalition or alliance of different forces. He has the ability to win over support from staunch opponents. The reason is that he holds no specific ideology and principle in politics. He is a pragmatic politician who believes in power politics. He is not an idealist and wastes no time in ideas and principles.
Now the question is whether his pragmatisms will help him to get out of the trouble. We will have to wait to get the answer of this concrete question. The history of accountability in Pakistan tells us that if the cases are politically motivated and fabricated to get the desired political results. Such cases in the long run serve the interests of political leadership. The political leaders faced lot of problems and difficulties in the short turn but have the last laugh in the long run.
If the cases are based on facts and investigators have collected all the relevant evidence and proofs then the politicians could face the serious consequences. Accountability should not be done through media trials but through transparent and fair process and trials in the courts.
It seems that JIT has collected lot of information to expose the network of companies and individuals involved in the money-laundering and fake accounts. The money laundering was to buy properties abroad illegally.
Most of the information, except fake accounts saga, have been taken through sources by JIT which revealed that former President Asif Ali Zardari is believed to own multiple properties in Brussels and Paris i.e. “12-3 Boulevard De-Nieuport, 1000, Belgium and Chausee De-Mons, 1670 Brussels and La Manoir De La Reine Blanche and property.”
JIT also finalised its investigation of around 20, 000 transactions accordingly. Statements of key accused former President Asif Zardari, MPA Faryal Talpur, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Mustafa Memon, Zain Malik of Bahria Town, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Aslam Masood, Anwar Majeed, Col (R) Asad Zaidi, Ghulam Qadir Marri and Ashraf D. Baloch were recorded by JIT, also clubbed their statements with the report.
Business volume of Zardari Group Pvt Ltd, Omni Group, A-One International, M/s Bahria Town Karachi, M/s Iqbal Metals, Kingerete Project Management Pvt Ltd, Lucky International Ltd and other prominent entities operating in Sindh have been clubbed with the report carrying a volume based on the MLAs.
According to sources, JIT Volume-IV also revealed that payment of Rs4.14 million on June 29, 2015 from a fake account owned by M/s Logistic Trading for food supplies to Bilawal House by M/s ‘The Deli’ restaurant. The report continued to reveal that a payment of Rs1.54 million of domestic water bill for the month of April 20, 2015 pertaining to House No D-30, Block 3, Clifton from a fake account of M/s Royal International which were maintained at a private bank in Karachi. The report also revealed that Zardari Group Pvt. Ltd. received a sum of amount through M/s Lucky International’s account maintained at a private bank in Karachi. JIT in its recommendations also suggested that a new JIT may be formed to probe many matters link to key accused holding assets abroad.
In the series of events in the fake accounts investigation, JIT report also revealed that a domestic worker of former President Asif Zardari, with an estimated fortune of around Rs8.1 billion stashed into one of his fake accounts. Mushtaq Ahmed, 37, who once served as one of personal staff member of former president and co-chairman of PPP Asif Zardari accumulated the wealth with Zain Malik through a joint fake account maintained in a private bank in Karachi during 2014-15, states the report.
We have to wait till December 24 to see what course of action the Supreme Court will take.
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17 November, 2019