An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday sent PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on judicial remand till August 19 in the fake bank accounts case.
Zardari was presented before accountability judge Mohammad Bashir who sent the former president to jail after NAB prosecutor Muzaffar Abbasi argued that there had been a new development in the case and sought an extension in the PPP leader’s physical remand.
Requesting further custody of Zardari, Abbasi said that a suspect had given a statement which they wanted to confront Zardari about.
An official notification issued by the court stated that Zardari’s judicial remand had been approved and he was to be kept in jail until his next court appearance on August 19. Prior to this, the PPP co-chairperson was in NAB custody. On July 29, the court had granted a 10-day remand of the former president.
During the proceedings today, Zardari’s counsel Latif Khosa said that the former president had earlier requested that NAB be granted his 90-day physical remand once, instead of multiple shorter remands. The counsel argued that while a 90-day remand could not be granted, the court could approve a 14-day remand.
“After four days they [NAB] come again and ask for remand,” he said, adding that the repeated court appearances cause a loss to the national exchequer.
Appearing on the rostrum, Zardari said that he was not allowed to offer prayers even on Eidul Azha. He said that his daughter was not allowed to meet him during the holiday, despite having court permission to do so.
In a post shared on Twitter, Zardari’s daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari confirmed that her father was being sent to Adiala Jail.
Zardari also requested that he be seated in the front seat of the car while being taken to Adiala Jail.
“How can I give an order regarding [you] being seated in the front or the back?” responded the judge, rejecting his request.
Khosa said that the former president’s legal team should be granted permission to visit him twice a week, adding that lawyers were “officers of the court”.
“Before meetings, we are made to wait two to three hours, which is contempt of court,” he said, requesting that Farooq H. Naek and himself be granted permission to meet their client.
Before arriving at the jail, Zardari submitted an application for ‘A-Class’ facilities. Subsequently, the former president was shifted to the jail in an armoured car.
Meanwhile, Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur, who is in Adiala Jail, submitted a request to participate in a session of the Sindh Assembly. The court asked the NAB prosecutor for a reply to be submitted on the request for transit remand on Aug 19.
Additional reporting by Tahir Naseer