The country’s top anti-graft boy has approached the Islamabad authorities for making adequate security arrangements for PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari’s court appearance on Monday (today) in the Toshakhana case.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) wants to prevent a repeat of the violence witnessed outside its office in Lahore a few days ago when PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz turned up there for hearing accompanied by hundreds of activists and supporters who clashed with police.
The PPP is also reportedly preparing to put on a power show when the party’s co-chairman and former president of the country appears before the accountability court in Islamabad.
The NAB Rawalpindi has written a letter to the Islamabad chief commissioner police chief seeking proper security arrangements for the hearing.
In response, the chief commissioner has ordered foolproof security for the accountability court and NAB offices.
Zardari and former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousuf Raza Gilani have been accused by NAB of illegally receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from the Toshakhana ((gift depository).
The anti-corruption body maintained that evidence collected during the course of inquiry and investigation established that Gilani had, in order to extend illegal benefit to Zardari and Nawaz, illegally allowed the retention of vehicles gifted to them by different foreign states and dignitaries.
According to the bureau, Zardari had received expensive cars as a gift from Libya and the UAE as president but did not deposit them in the Toshakhana.
The NAB prosecutor told the court that bureau had decided to seize the vehicles of Zardari and Nawaz, two BMWs and a Lexus owned by the former president and Mercedes by the former premier.
The court has already issued a bailable arrest warrant for Zardari. During the previous hearing, the court also issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz and directed the Foreign Office to implement the arrest orders through the Pakistan consulate in the United Kingdom.
Nawaz has challenged the accountability court’s proceedings against him in the Toshakhana reference and asked the Islamabad High Court to declare the summons in the case null and void.
On August 11, NAB was unable to record the statement of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz in an illegal land requisition case as her party workers ran berserk and clashed with riot police in an attempt to force their way into the office of the national graft buster in Lahore.
Television channels showed chaotic scenes outside the NAB office as Maryam, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif, drove in accompanied by hundreds of PML-N activists and supporters in vehicles and on foot.
The situation turned ugly when some activists in the PML-N caravan pelted stones at police, who responded by using batons, water cannons and tear gas on the rioters.