Former president Asif Ali Zardari was indicted today by an accountability court in the Thatta Water Supply and Park Lane references by an accountability court.

The PPP leader and others nominated in the references presented themselves before the court on Monday in a hearing presided over by Justice Azam Khan.

During the hearing, the former president was presented with the charge sheet of the Thatta Water Supply and Park Lane references while the other suspects were provided a copy of the indictments.

The court framed charges against Zardari in the two references. A total number of 19 persons were indicted in the Park Lane reference while 15 were indicted in the Thatta Water Supply reference.

Zardari pleaded not guilty to the charges as the court directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to present witnesses in the Park Lane reference by October 20 and in the Thatta Water Supply reference by October 21.

The court had indicted Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on September 28 in the mega money laundering reference.

Speaking outside the accountability court with reporters, Zardari was asked to comment on Khawaja Asif’s remarks about him.

“Khawaja Asif must have given the statement on somebody’s instructions,” he said. “The intent was to divide the opposition.”

Talking about the accountability cases filed against him, Zardari said that he had previously suffered under the same circumstances when cases were filed against him. “When we are in opposition, such cases are filed against us,” he said. “We have been going through these cases [in the past as well].”

Thatta water supply reference and fake accounts case

The Thatta Water Supply is a supplementary reference, part of the fake bank accounts and mega money-laundering scam references filed by NAB against Zardari.

In October 2015, the anti-corruption wing of the Federal Investigation Agency in Karachi received a tip-off of suspicious intra-bank transactions from the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and the United Bank Limited.

The profiles of the account holders did not match their earnings/income. FIA authorities suspected that these accounts were being run by the Zardari Group and Omni Group, amongst others.

The case dragged on until June 2018, when the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the fake accounts and directed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the matter.

The investigation team concluded that 32 fake bank accounts were being operated by 11 fake entities to launder money from “kickbacks, land grabbing and large scale misappropriation of public funds.”