The Supreme Court’s unsealing of the findings of JIT [Joint Investigation Team] in the money laundering case involving former president Asif Ali Zardari, who is also co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and his associates has caused a stir in the party.
The report has revealed that more than a handful of people were involved in this massive scheme.
Zardari has summoned his family and close associates at the Bilawal House in Karachi to discuss the situation. The present include his lead counsel Farooq H. Naek, barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervez Ashraf, children Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, sister Faryal Talpur, Farhatullah Babar, former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, and Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah (who was formerly the provincial finance minister), Senator Sherry Rehman, party secretary general Nayyar Bukhari, and senior leader Qamar Zaman Kaira.
Zardari, who has several bulging ashtrays in front of him, looks nervous. He starts the proceedings, “Farooq [Naek] and Aitizaz [Ahsan] have failed the true heirs of our immortal leaders Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and our queen, Benazir. Why did you let the chief justice set up this JIT? Don’t you see what happened to [former prime minister] Nawaz Sharif?
“I wish instead of these lawyers, I had recruited [Senator] Mushahid Hussain. He would have fixed this chief justice. Experience matters. Mushahid has the credentials [in attacking the Supreme Court in 1997].
“It is simply horrible, not just Faryal and I but also my child… my Bilawal has been implicated.
“All of you are thankless! Ah, at least, you could have followed the courage of Yousaf Raza [Gillani]… how he valiantly blocked the reach into my Swiss accounts.
“Farooq, you even could not save your wife, your son… all these are dragging me in to the pit. And indeed you, Farooq with all the Sindh government litigation contracts… this will drag our Murad along too… he was finance minister there, and now chief minister…
“And even our beloved Qaim Shah is being dragged… it is another excuse to drag me along.
“As Bilawal said they are even mentioning goats and breakfasts. Did I eat the meat of the goats that were sacrificed for me at the President’s House? Isn’t giving meat for free public welfare? Shouldn’t it come from public funds?
“Aitzaz, you, yes, you Aitzaz… now that Imran Khan has put his man at the PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board], he will get NAB [National Accountability Bureau] digging there too… they will try to grab you through your wife… why Bushra was made chairperson of PCB Women’s Wing… digging accounts of the perks… yes, and yes… again, I will be dragged in too.
“I mean Farooq and Aitzaz, you didn’t even prevent the order for putting me and our people on the no-fly list.
“And here… you… Sherry… I am told that Twitter is alive with the mention about your [husband] Nadeem’s banking thing… again it will end up at my doorstep.
“Faryal, Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa you know I am a fighter.
“What… do they think that I am a cat that I have seven lives that they can jail me for so many years for each of the accusations?
“At least, I see some compassion. They let Nawaz go to the jail in Lahore… surely he will be getting his favorite foods three times a day.
“Farooq and Aitzaz, I tell you if we all get netted, you should use the Nawaz jail choice as precedent and get all of us locked up in the same facility. Also, both of you start drafting the constitution of the Pakistan Peoples Party Behind Bars… we will call it PPP-BB. The public will think that it is the Benazir Bhutto wing of our party that we are keeping alive even in jail.
“Sherry, I must say that you expertly launched the victimization card. And you bravely warned them that we will not stand down with our hands folded under the pressure of accountability.
“I too will fight (he mumbles to himself)… all of us should be ready to fight. You know how I gave it to the army in June 2015 and then went to Dubai? I will fight again…”
Finally Aitzaz whispers, “My exalted and beloved leader but now you are on the no-fly list.”
Zardari thunders “Yes… and yes… and yes, I know. Aitzaz, we have to find a way… Can’t we get our dear Maulana Fazlur Rahman to issue a decree that it is unlawful to form a JIT? You have to find a way … just tell them that Asif Zardari cannot be parted from all what he has collected.”