A banking court in Karachi on Friday ordered the transfer of fake bank accounts and mega money laundering case to Islamabad. Following the decision, the court also withdrew interim pre-arrest bails granted to former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and other suspects in the case. The court ordered that the bail bonds of all the suspects be cancelled. The court announced the decision on a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking transfer of the money laundering case to Islamabad. The court had reserved its decision during the last hearing on Monday. Zardari appeared before the court after the verdict had been announced. Talpur’s counsel, meanwhile, informed the court that his client was sick, and filed an application for the court to grant her permission to skip the hearing. However, former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, Omni Group Chairman Anwer Majeed’s son Abdul Ghani Majeed and others named in the case were present in the court. Majeed’s three other sons – Nimr Majeed, Zulqurnain Majeed and Ali Kamal Majeed – who are suspects in the case and were present in the court fled after the hearing. Last month, the NAB chairman had filed a petition seeking transfer of the case to the accountability court of Rawalpindi for trial. Justice (r) Javed Iqbal had stated that the Supreme Court directed the accountability bureau to probe the case thus it should be transferred to a NAB court in Rawalpindi. Zardari had earlier objected to the transfer of the case from Karachi through his counsel Farooq H Naik. He had argued that the NAB was falsely interpreting the top court’s instruction and was trying to exert pressure on the defendants. Naek had argued that the Supreme Court in its verdict in January this year had ordered NAB to further the investigation and not to transfer the case. Reading out the first information report filed by the Federal Investigation Agency, he had said that the fake bank accounts case did not fall under NAB’s jurisdiction as it did not include the charges of corrupt practices and corruption. The charges did not include deceiving the public either, he had added. Zardari’s counsel had further said that there were no grounds for transferring the case to Rawalpindi, and pointed out that the top court had ordered that NAB concludes its investigation within two months, which he said had already lapsed. Published in Daily Times, March 16th 2019.