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Pakistan adds former president Zardari to no-fly list over graft probe

Pakistan adds former president Zardari to no-fly list over graft probe

Pakistan adds former president Zardari to no-fly list over graft probe
December 27
22:53 2018

Pakistan has announced that it will ban former president Asif Ali Zardari from travelling abroad following an investigation into allegations of money laundering.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced the ban during a press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday. He told reporters that Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur were among 172 people involved in cases of money laundering and use of fake bank accounts. 

“All the 172 names … will be added to the ECL (Exit Control List),” the minister said.

Chaudhry noted that a joint investigation team (JIT) had found evidence of how the former president allegedly laundered money through companies and bogus bank accounts. “I hope Zardari will now take the JIT seriously.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Chaudhry stressed that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan would not spare anyone involved in plundering national wealth.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry (File photo)

In September, a Pakistani court established a commission to probe the scourge of corruption, finding that at least US$400 million had passed through “thousands of false accounts”. The commission said some 600 companies and individuals “are associated with the scandal”.

Zardari, co-chairman of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and president from 2008 until 2013, has long been the subject of corruption allegations. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Zardari was married to Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister who was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack during an election rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on Dec 27, 2007.  Thursday is the 11th anniversary of her death.

A Pakistani court recently jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for seven years on graft charges, the latest conviction in a series of allegations which saw him ousted from power last year.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lost the 2018 general elections to the rival Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI), led by former cricket champion and current Premier  Khan. Khan's election campaign platform was focused on fighting corruption and tackling the country's financial crisis.

Premier Khan, who came to power in July, has vowed to recover billions siphoned from the country as his government scrambles to shore up Pakistan's deteriorating finances and fast-depleting foreign exchange reserves.

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