Fake companies: Pakistani ex-PM Gilani faces arrest in corruption case!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
The rampant corruption practices by top politicians as rulers of Pakistan, notwithstanding the nation’s destabilization realities, have come to light now.
An anti-corruption court in Karachi on 27 August issued warrants for the arrest of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim, in connection with the multi-billion Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) scandal. Further, the judge ordered authorities to arrest the two PPP leaders by September 10 and present them before the court. At present, the two leaders were on bail in 12 similar cases pertaining to corruption amounting to Rs500 million.
The order was issued after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented a final chargesheet with 12 new cases registered against the PPP leaders before the court. FIA charged them for approving and disbursing fraudulent trade subsidies worth millions of rupees to several fake companies through fictitious claims and backdated cheques.
Both the individuals, who are also senior leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), had started consultation with renowned legal experts to ensure their legal defense in view of their possible arrest.
The move comes a day after Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Zardari’s close confidante Dr Asim Hussain was arrested. Cases against the two PPP leaders, some former and serving senior officials of the Trade Development Authority and others were registered by FIA for their alleged involvement in approving and disbursing fraudulent trade subsidies of millions of rupees to several fake companies through fictitious claims and back-dated cheques.
The anti-corruption court had issued arrest warrants for both PPP leaders earlier as well. However, they failed to appear before the court.
Approving the charge sheet during the hearing yesterday, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for both of them.
Well-placed sources in the FIA told the Express Investigation Cell that the federal government has taken the principled stance not to accept any political pressure and to take the investigations into the Rs7billion financial scam to its logical conclusion. They said the permission of arrest is also a part of this resolve.
Meanwhile, PPP vice president Sherry Rehman said the former premier Gilani was ready to appear in the court, but insisted transparency and relevant laws should be adhered to in the crackdown against corruption.
Responding to the court’s orders, the former PM said, “I will appear in court on August 31 instead of September 10.”
Raza Gilani, 63, was prime minister from 2008 to 2013 when he was sacked after the Supreme Court held him responsible for defying an order of the court to write a letter to the Swiss government to reopen a corruption probe against then President Asif Ali Zardari. Both Gilani and Faheem are senior leaders of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Apart from the two leaders implicated in the corruption case, authorities yesterday also arrested a confidant of Zardari, an ex-petroleum minister Asim Hussain from Karachi for alleged involvement in corruption.