PPP MNA Shazia Marri on Monday accused the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of “harassing [PPP co-Chairperson] Asif Ali Zardari” after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) denied the former president’s bail plea in a fake accounts case.
During a National Assembly sitting today, Marri asked Speaker Asad Qaiser when he would issue Zardari’s production orders.
“He [Zardari] is a member of this House and a former president,” she told Qaiser. “The members look towards the speaker for the protection of the rights [of MNAs] as he [Qaiser] is the custodian of the house.”
She asked the speaker to ensure the presence of Zardari in the Assembly and issue his production orders.
“NAB is harassing Asif Ali Zardari,” a visibly charged Marri declared. “In this situation, how will you protect him, when will you issue his production orders?”
She claimed that opposition members were being facing discrimination and pointed out that members of government were also nominated in NAB cases.
Referring to the arrests of MNAs Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, Marri said: “Opposition members are being picked up one by one. The opposition is being victimised against because they talk about people’s issues.”
“NAB officials are outside the residence of Asif Zardari, who has already faced jails for 12 or 13 years,” she lamented.
Responding to Marri’s tirade, Interior Minister retired Brig Ijaz Shah said that the government had “nothing to do” with the high court’s order to turn down Zardari’s bail plea.
“This is a court matter,” he said. “NAB is an independent institution and the government cannot interfere in its affairs.”
Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also asked the speaker to issue production orders for Zardari and suspend Assembly proceedings until he arrives.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that there was “no reason” for NAB to arrest Zardari as the latter had been appearing before the anti-corruption watchdog and the courts for case proceedings. He urged the speaker to issue production orders for Zardari urgently.