- Title: PAKISTAN-WARRANT/GILANI Arrest warrant issued for former Pakistani prime minister
- Date: 27th August 2015
- Summary: MULTAN, PAKISTAN (FILE - MAY, 2013) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER YOUSAF RAZA GILANI SITTING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE VARIOUS OF GILANI TALKING TO MEDIA
- Embargoed: 11th September 2015 13:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAF0ZNY3B06D3XX44RZXKGYY1ST
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Thursday (August 27) issued an arrest warrant for former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in a case alleging millions of dollars of graft in a trade development scheme, a security official said.
The same day, another senior figure in the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was accused in court of financing terrorism after being arrested the previous day. The PPP accuses its enemies of waging a smear campaign through the courts.
Gilani was prime minister in the PPP government from March 2008 until his disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in April 2012.
He is currently vice chairman of his party.
The warrant was issued for Gilani and another senior party leader, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, according to Javed Akbar Riaz, an official with the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Federal Investigation Agency.
The pair were ordered to appear before the court on September 10.
Riaz said the agency had petitioned the court for the prosecution of Gilani and Fahim over their alleged approval and disbursement of hundreds of millions of dollars to fake companies through the government Trade and Development Authority.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said the charges were politically motivated and it seemed as if "a revenge-like campaign is being carried out against the PPP."
"Non-bailable arrest warrants are being issued against the top leadership of the Peoples Party. Big names are included in this. One is Yousaf Raza Gilani, who has offered to present himself before the courts. He has always appeared before courts, even when he was the Prime Minister. Even now he has sent a message saying that whenever the court summons him, he will willingly appear in his capacity as a Senior Vice Chairman of the Peoples Party," Rehman told a news conference in Islamabad.
"This sort of process has started in Punjab; the same is happening in Sindh. In KPK, one of our ministers has been nabbed. It looks as if a revenge-like campaign against us is on, in all the provinces. I feel that at this point in time, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) has its eyes only on the Peoples Party," she added.
Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary Information of Pakistan People's Party and a former Information Minister, said the Party would fight back if any member was charged with terrorism.
"We have said there will be a war, and that war will be this: if you are going to charge us with terrorism, if you are going to accuse us of terrorism, we will not accept that under any circumstances, whether the charges come from an organization or from the present government," Kaira said.
Another prominent PPP figure appeared before an anti-terrorism court in Karachi on Thursday and ordered to be detained for 90 days.
Court papers alleged Asim Hussain, a petroleum minister in the previous PPP-led government, had been involved in "terror and violence financing, misappropriation of funds for enhancing support for terrorism and other criminal activities".
The cases are the first of their kind against the PPP in a sweeping crackdown on violence and corruption spearheaded by the military this year.
Critics accuse the military, which has a history of launching coups, of seeking to weaken the civilian political system in place since 2008.
The military says the crackdown is necessary to break the cycle of corruption and violence in Karachi. It has so far targeted mostly opposition politicians and not the ruling party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
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