Aseefa to lead party if ar­rested: Bilawal

She­hzad Ak­bar says no­body is un­touch­able in naya Pak­istan

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IS­LAM­ABAD: PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zar­dari has named his sis­ter and daugh­ter of the late for­mer PM Be­nazir Bhutto, Assefa Bhutto-Zar­dari, to lead the party in case he is ar­rested by the NAB in the days to come.

As the PPP chair­man spoke to jour­nal­ists af­ter ap­pear­ing be­fore the anti-graft watch­dog in the case re­lated per­tain­ing to JV Opel-255 — a joint ven­ture be­tween Zar­dari Group Pvt Ltd, of which Bilawal is a di­rec­tor, and a large real-es­tate business –, he was asked about his party’s plans re­gard­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of its forth­com­ing protest move­ment against the “anti-people” gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic poli­cies in case he was ar­rested by NAB.

“The march would go on come what may. Both the lead­ers and work­ers of the PPP know what strug­gle is and have never shied away from it,” Bilawal said, adding that his sis­ter Assefa would, how­ever, be there to lead PPP work­ers. “She’ll be my voice if I am ar­rested.”

Ear­lier, Bilawal ap­peared be­fore NAB for hear­ing of the case re­gard­ing JV Opel255.

PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar had con­firmed Bilawal’s ap­pear­ance be­fore the ac­count­abil­ity bureau.

“PPP Chair­man Bilawal Bhutto-Zar­dari will ap­pear be­fore the NAB de­spite the fact that the NAB no­tice to him is just po­lit­i­cal vic­tim­i­sa­tion. The PPP chair­man be­lieves in the supremacy of the law of the land,” Khokar had said.

Khokar had noted that NAB sent Bilawal a no­tice within the week af­ter he protested against the PTI’s “anti-poor” eco­nomic poli­cies.

“NAB sends a no­tice to Bilawal when­ever he crit­i­cises the gov­ern­ment,” he had al­leged, adding that the Supreme Court (SC) has al­ready de­clared Bilawal in­no­cent. “This is noth­ing but po­lit­i­cal vic­tim­i­sa­tion by NAB.”

The PPP chair­man on Thurs­day re­port­edly recorded his state­ment with re­gard to the al­leged trans­fer of over Rs1 bil­lion from the ac­counts of JV Opel-225.

JV Opel was set up in 2011 and had its of­fice on a prop­erty in Karachi owned by the Zar­dari Group. From 2011 to 2013, the com­pany did not gen­er­ate any rev­enue, yet it pur­chased ma­jor as­sets, agri­cul­ture lands, com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in Is­lam­abad and Karachi, ac­cord­ing to a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team (JIT) report.

The only amount it re­ceived, dur­ing this pe­riod, was Rs1.2 bil­lion from its business part­ner, the real-es­tate firm, which, ac­cord­ing to the JIT report, was not due to the Zar­dari Group.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pect that this pay­ment was made by the real-es­tate com­pany as a bribe or kick­back for get­ting favours from the Sindh gov­ern­ment in the form of il­le­gal al­lot­ment of state land.

SLAMABAD: Chair­man Pak­istan Peo­ples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zar­dari talk­ing with me­dia per­sons af­ter hear­ing in Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bureau in fed­eral cap­i­tal.

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