I paved way for a ‘Dentist’ President: Zardari’s comments spark uproar

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Former President Asif Ali Zardari has said that he does not believe that the government will complete its tenure. He was addressing a rally in Sadiqabad. In today’s world, Mr. Zardari said, a government that does not deliver has to step down. “He [Prime Minister Khan] will not be able to manage the economy, nor will he be able to hold up to the false commitments he made.”

 

Mr. Zardari maintained that the present government was not capable enough to manage political challenges and social divisions. He repeatedly quoted PPP’s tenure to make points and criticize the PTI-led government.

Mr. Zardari further said that the present government was reluctant to fulfill its promise of south Punjab province. “You [PTI] stole our slogan [of the creation of South Punjab province],” Mr. Zardari claimed. “We accepted, let them take credit as someone should [take a step for South Punjab province]. Now they don’t have the courage”.

The SC ordered the formation on the recommendations of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The FIA presented its report on the 28th August and recommended the court to form a JIT.

It is worth mentioning here that the former president forgot to remember that the PTI government does not have enough majority to make a province in Punjab. Analysts believe that the speech delivered by Mr. Zardari was a reflection of his failure to reach an agreement with the government to seek some relief from the ongoing inquiries.

The Background of the Case Mr. Zardari
The FIA is currently investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from ‘fictitious accounts’, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe. The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed along with his sons have also been arrested by FIA earlier this month.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources. The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions, and bribes.

Formation of JIT
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in its much-awaited decision on 5th September ordered to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to look into money-laundering and fake accounts case, allegedly involving former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. The SC ordered the formation on the recommendations of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The FIA presented its report on the 28th August and recommended the court to form a JIT.

“We are forming a JIT and it will submit a report on the matter every 15 days,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said as he headed a three-judge bench. The court also directed the Rangers to provide security to officers of the FIA. Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked, “We are forming a JIT in light of FIA’s statement that they do not have the expertise.” “If the suspects are not guilty then they will get a clean chit,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the other hand, has repeatedly clarified that he will not sign any agreement with anyone no matter what. The future for the former president is seemingly tough.

DG FIA Bashir Memon submitted a detailed report before the court regarding the case. Memon recommended the formation of a seven-member JIT to probe the matter and said the team should comprise representatives from the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), FIA as well as members from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).

The DG FIA also recorded his statement before the court. “We found documents related to Kam Crown International Trading House Company in Dubai during the raid,” the DG FIA said. Based on those documents we conducted a raid at the Dubai office and found numerous records of foreign currency accounts, he added.

JIT: Things Becoming Difficult for Zardari?

Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for Asif Ali Zardari, was not comfortable to form a JIT. A probe into the matter is already underway and being referred to a trial court, Mr. Ahsan said. But the CJP said to him that “for a better investigation, we want to form a team based on experts.” Since the experts in the JIT of Panama Papers made it difficult for the accused to get any escaping way, Mr. Ahsan who is a senior lawyer and is supposed to be well aware of the organizational shortcomings of the institutions like the NAB was deliberately arguing against the formation a JIT.

Since the PTI decided not to sign any deal with the former President, he is, therefore, now trying to pressurize the government to sign one. Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the other hand, has repeatedly clarified that he will not sign any agreement with anyone no matter what. The future for the former president is seemingly tough.

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