Former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was arrested on corruption charges on Monday in a blow to the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party over what media said was an investigation into false bank accounts and money laundering.
Zardari, widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the anti-corruption body’s spokesman, Nawazish Ali, said.
Local media channels said NAB arrested Zardari over its investigation into bank accounts and money laundering, with Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur, also being investigated.
The former president and Talpur could not be reached for comment but they have always denied any wrongdoing linked to those cases and the PPP says the cases are politically motivated.
“Our right to fair trial is being undermined,” Zardari’s son, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, told a news conference, adding that the NAB officers arrived to arrest his father without any judicial orders.
PPP officials say the cases against Zardari are meant to pile pressure on the party and help Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is seen to be favoured by the country’s powerful military.
Khan’s other rival, ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, is also in jail on corruption charges.
“The government has no role in (Zardari’s arrest),” the interior minister, Ejaz Shah, told parliament, saying it was a court decision.
After his arrest on Monday, Zardari was seen leaving his house in Islamabad with his son.
REUTERS June 10