SC orders to place Zardari, Faryal & others on the ECL

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Monday ordered to place the names of former president and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others in the Exit Control List (ECL).

The written order came as Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the slow pace of inquiry into a fake bank accounts case.

The top court also summoned the PPP co-chairman, his sister and others on July 12. Supreme Court also summoned the seven fake bank account holders and 13 beneficiaries on July 12.

The top court also directed the Sindh inspector general of police to ensure that all persons that have been summoned appear before the court.

Asif Zardari, Faryal 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.

On Sunday, Supreme Court had barred the former president and his sister from travelling abroad in the wake of the recent revelations in a fake bank accounts case.

The development comes few days after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) detained Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman and Summit Bank vice chairman Hussain Lawai, a close aide of the former president.

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, 29 accounts were opened in the name of seven people, including a woman. The agency 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.

On Saturday, the FIA had obtained the remand of the Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman, after registering a case against him and others for using a fake account to launder Rs35 billion ($288 million).

According to a case registered by FIA’s Banking Circle Karachi, the former president and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari, and his sister, Faryal Talpur, are among 13 people who benefited from the arrangement.

The police first investigation report (FIR) says that M/s Zardari Group (Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, etc.) got Rs15,000,000 and were among the beneficiaries of the transaction trail of fake bank accounts maintained by Omni Group, owned by Anwar Majeed, another close aide of the former president.

On the other hand, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has summoned an important meeting of the party leadership tomorrow and he was to reach Lahore Monday night shortening his Multan visit.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry on Monday denied issuing any directives to bar former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur from flying abroad in relation to a money-laundering case.

“We have not issued any instructions to bar Zardari and Talpur from leaving the country,” the interior secretary said. “Will look into the matter after orders from court,” he added.
Earlier today, media reports claimed that the former president and his sister had been barred by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from leaving the country.

Geo News had reported earlier that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman is among seven suspects placed on the FIA’s ‘stop-list’ – a provisional list of FIA barring suspects from flying abroad before they are formally placed on the Exit Control List.

Following the reports, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari summoned an emergency meeting of the party’s central executive committee in Lahore.

FIA arrests Hussain Lawai in money-laundering probe
The FIA registered a case in Karachi last week over a money laundering scandal of Rs35 billion said to implicate politicians, businessmen and bankers.

On July 6, FIA arrested Stock Exchange of Pakistan chairman Hussain Lawai, considered a close aide of Zardari.

FIA officials maintain that 32 people, including Lawai, are being investigated for laundering billions of rupees through fictitious bank accounts.

The FIA probe
The FIA inquiry started when the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a ‘suspicious transaction report’ in January this year regarding ten bank accounts.
Sources maintain that over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at a private bank were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees’ were made.

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