Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday banned former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur from travelling abroad in the wake of the recent revelations in a fake bank accounts case, a media report said.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered the names of 20 people, including Zardari and Talpur, be placed on the Exit Control List, Geo TV reported.
Those persons on the list are prohibited from leaving Pakistan.
The order came as Chief Justice Nisar took notice of the slow pace of inquiry into a fake bank accounts case.
The apex court has summoned the seven fake bank account holders and 13 beneficiaries on July 12.
Zardari, Talpur, Tariq Sultan, Erum Aqeel, Muhammad Ashraf and Muhammad Iqbal Arain are among those who have been issued notices to appear before the top court on the given date.
The top court also directed the Sindh inspector general of police to ensure that all persons that have been summoned appear before the court.
Nasir Abdullah, Ansari Sugar Mills, Omani Polymer Packages, Pak Ethanol Private Limited, Chambar Sugar Mills, Agro Farm Thatta, Zardari Group, Parthenon Private Limited, AOne International, Lucky International, Logistic Trading, Royal International and Ameer Associate are among the beneficiaries name in the fake bank accounts case.
On Friday, the Federal Investigation Agency detained Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman and Summit Bank vice chairman Hussain Lawai, a close aide of Zardari, in Karachi.
Lawai and his associates are accused of opening 29 fake accounts in the Summit Bank and United Bank of Pakistan Limited.
According to the FIA sources, 29 accounts were opened in the name of seven people, including a woman. They said that 18 to 19 of the ‘fake’ accounts were opened in the Summit Bank alone.
FIA sources said that these accounts were used for money laundering with the accounts mainly being operated by a businessman, Anwar Majeed who is said to be very close to Zardari and his business partner.
According to the FIR registered against Lawai, billions of rupees were deposited into the said fake accounts and subsequently transferred to different accounts, including that of Zardari and his sister Talpur’s company – Zardari Group – which is shown to have received Rs 15 million.
As per the contents of the report, the biggest transfer made out of the alleged fake accounts was to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors.
Furthermore, it alleged that a sum of Rs 4.5 billion was credited and routed through the accounts during a span of 10 months.
The FIA identified Bahria Town Karachi and Omni Pvt Ltd among the 15 parties that had made deposits totaling Rs 2.855 billion into the aforesaid accounts.
The FIR said that the beneficiaries into whose accounts the monies were routed have been issued summons.
Lawai, however, maintained his innocence after the court turned down an appeal from his lawyer to not allow his physical remand on account of his frail medical condition.
“I have nothing to do with this case. Nothing has been recovered from me. This case is about money laundering; those who did this [money laundering]are abroad, and I have been accused,” Lawai said.
The senior banker has served as Chairman of the Central Depository Company (CDC) besides holding positions of President and CEO of MCB bank.
When asked if he had been arrested due to his rumoured friendship with Zardari, Lawai said: “I do not know if I have been arrested because of Asif Ali Zardari or something else. Only time will tell why I am being targeted.”
Zardari, 62, is contesting for a National Assembly seat from his native town Nawabshah in the upcoming general elections.
He was elected as Member of National Assembly from Karachi’s area of Lyari in 1990, and from Nawabshah in 1993.
Zardari served as the 11th President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013. He rose to prominence after his marriage to Benazir Bhutto in 1987.
After Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007, Zardari led PPP to victory in the 2008 general elections.