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Posts tagged as Anwar Majeed

All the (ex) president’s men

The high-profile arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on Wednesday signals the beginning of the end of the unfinished agenda of the 2013 Karachi operation, launched to eradicate terrorism, militant wings of political parties, terror.
It seems that the back-to-back arrests of the former president’s men may conclude with the nabbing of the “key man” himself.Interestingly, even with the change of government in 2018, the main objective of the operating authorities remains unchanged. On the contrary, with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the centre and Imran Khan as prime minister, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have emerged more powerful in the last six months and further expanded their scope of action. While all the ex-president’s men are now in trouble, the man himself, Asif Ali Zardari, announced on Wednesday that he always considered “prison as his second home”. His first home once used to be the Prime Minister House, and later the President House.
It is highly unlikely that Zardari will be revisiting his first home again, but the possibility of him ending up in his second home are high.And if that were to happen, how will his party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), counter the move? One option will be to use the Parliament and provincial assemblies to lodge a protest, and in turn create political turmoil.
Sources within the party say Zardari may even be ready to sacrifice his men, in case the NAB comes looking for him.Durrani was arrested by the anti-graft bureau from Islamabad in connection to a 2008 probe for allegedly owning assets beyond his means of income.The speaker could be the latest addition to the 2013 clean-up operation, which saw the targeting of Zardari’s other men, Dr Asim Hussain, Manzoor Kaka, Nisar Morai, and Sharjeel Inam Memon.In 2015, for the first time in years, the NAB and FIA resuscitated, it seems, as big stories of corruption began to make front-page news and bulletins.That immediately led to tension between the PPP and then ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N). And for the first time, the Sindh government threatened to withdraw the powers of the paramilitary forces in the province.
Dr Asim Hussain’s arrest in the Rs460 billion NAB case, and another of providing medical treatment to terrorists, was the turning point. It led to the breakup of relations between former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.The probe against the Omni Group and Anwar Majeed and Co. was also initiated by the NAB during the previous government’s tenure.Majeed’s office and home were raided as a result.Yet, the last nail in the coffin of the Sharif-Zardari ties came when one of the premier intelligence agencies picked up three close aides of Zardari, one from Islamabad and two from Sindh, and kept them under detention for a few days.This put an end to all kinds of political and even personal ties between the two leaders, despite Sharif’s clarifications that he was not involved. He even told the then interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, to not go too far against the PPP.
Separately, the FIA initiated a high-profile probe into the fake accounts case on the report of the State Bank of Pakistan. In June 2015, the FIA raided the Sindh Building Control Authority’s office and took away some 16,000 files, most of which were later handed over to the NAB, which spawned an investigation into the ‘China-cutting’ and ‘Real estate’ scam.
During the course of investigation, the ex-president’s man and head of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Manzoor Kaka, managed to escape. The anti-graft agencies then tightened their grip around alleged terror financing and money laundering by swooping the offices of the fisheries department.Nisar Morai, who is also considered close to Zardari, was arrested in connection to the case.In 2015, for the first time an apex meeting was held, attended by Sharif, Zardari, former Chief of Army Staff General (retd) Raheel Sharif, the head of the intelligence agency, and Lt General Bilal Akbar, the then-DG Rangers Sindh.
The Rangers presented a charge-sheet against the Sindh government, which shocked both Zardari and former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah.This week, the PPP leadership and the Sindh government were expecting the arrest of Zardari, his sister, Faryal Talpur, and Murad Ali Shah after the Supreme Court rejected their review appeal in the benami accounts case.
But NAB surprised them by going after Durrani instead.Zardari would never take the risk of dissolving the Sindh Assembly or resigning from the assemblies, as the PPP leadership fears falling into a trap.This means that, in the coming days, more of the ex-president’s men will be cuffed. But will this eventually lead to “the man” being arrested? Regarding which a reliable source said: “When it comes to arresting him, we do not want to bowl a no-ball.

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Zardari, Talpur granted another bail extension in fake accounts case

KARACHI – A banking court in Karachi on Thursday extended till March 5 the pre-arrest bail granted to former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and other suspects in a case pertaining to money laundering of billions through fictitious .
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) top leadership, the Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson Hussain Lawai, Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza are among those being investigated in the case.The matter is also being heard by the Supreme Court.Zardari and Talpur arrived at the hearing under stringent security, while the incarcerated suspects Anwar Majeed, Abdul Ghani, Lawai and Raza were brought in by police.During the hearing, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a medical report citing reasons for its failure to present main accused Aslam Masood, who was recently apprehended with the help of Interpol.Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau’s prosecutor maintained that the case should be transferred to Islamabad and said the move was approved by NAB chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.He also requested the court to dismiss the bail extension pleas.The FIA prosecutor seconded his stance, arguing that the Supreme Court’s directives in the suo motu case do not leave room for bail.
Advocate Farook H Naek, Zardari’s counsel, pointed out that the apex court had ordered the JIT report to be forwarded to the anti-graft watchdog in Islamabad for future corruption references.The order did not mention the case pending in the banking court, he said and accused the FIA of misconstruing SC order.
The court told FIA to submit documents if there had been any new developments in the case. The banking court adjourned the hearing of Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghani’s bail pleas till February 20 and granted extension in pre-arrest bail to Zardari, Talpur and five others till March 5.In December 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency began a discreet investigation into certain bank accounts through which multi-billion rupee transactions have been made. According to FIA sources, information regarding the fake accounts came to the fore when an intelligence agency picked up a prominent money changer in an unrelated case.As the monitoring and investigation of these suspicious accounts continued, it surfaced that five of these accounts in two banks the Sindh Bank and Summit Bank had been used for transactions worth around Rs15 billion.Investigation showed the accounts were operated by fake companies.Funds were credited into these accounts from contractors with multi-billion rupee contracts with the Sindh government. The money was found to have been transferred to accounts of companies owned and operated by the Omni Group, whose chairperson, Anwar Majeed, is a close aide of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.Another beneficiary was Nasir Lootah, the chairperson of Summit Bank.The probe, however, was shelved.
It resumed almost a year and a half later. FIA’s State Bank circle initiated a formal inquiry in January, 2018.By June, the FIA had several high-profile names on its list but was unable to make headway for several reasons. It was at his point that the Supreme Court intervened.Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the slow progress’ in the money laundering case.In July, Zardari’s close aides; Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza and two others were arrested.Subsequently, the first case was registered in the mega-corruption scandal.The FIA submitted its report to the apex court on July 8 which revealed a web of companies and accounts that were being used to transfer billions of rupees.In all, 29 accounts were identified that received payments, totaling at least Rs35 billion.

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Zardari, Talpur bail extended in fake bank accounts case

A banking court in Karachi on Thursday extended till March 5 the pre-arrest bail granted to former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and other suspects in a case pertaining to alleged laundering of billions of rupees through .
Zardari and Talpur arrived at the court amid stringent security, while the incarcerated suspects Omni Groups Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, Pakistan Stock Exchange former chairperson Hussain Lawai, Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza were brought in by police.
During the hearing, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a medical report citing reasons for its failure to present main accused Aslam Masood, who was recently apprehended with the help of Interpol.Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureaus prosecutor maintained that the case should be transferred to Islamabad and said the move was approved by NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal.
He also requested the court to dismiss the bail extension pleas. The FIA prosecutor seconded his stance, arguing that the Supreme Courts directives in the suo motu case do not leave room for bail.Zardaris counsel Farook H Naek pointed out that the apex court had ordered the JIT report to be forwarded to the anti-graft watchdog in Islamabad for future corruption references. The order did not mention the case pending in the banking court, he said, and accused the FIA of misconstruing the SC order.The court told FIA to submit documents if there had been any new developments in the case.Later, the court adjourned the hearing of Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghanis bail pleas till February 20 and granted extension in pre-arrest bail to Zardari, Talpur and five others till March 5.
th 2019.

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