KARACHI  -   A banking court on Monday extended fifth time the interim pre-arrest bail of former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others in a money laundering case till December 21.

Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Abdul Ghani, Majeed, Nimar Majeed and others appeared before banking court Judge Tariq Mehmood Khoso here yesterday. However, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza were not brought from the prison.

Lawai’s lawyer, advocate Shoukat Hayat, stated that despite issuance of production order by the trial court the authorities failed to comply with direction, and did not produce his clients. He also requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against authorities for their negligence.

The court directed the authority concerned to submit justification in this regard and directed to make sure presence of the accused on the next hearing date.

Farooq H Naek, while counseling on behalf of Zardari and his sister Faryal, appeared in the court and pleaded to extend interim bail of his clients which the court accepted. The pleas regarding bail extension submitted by other accused were also granted by the court.

Earlier, both Zardari and Talpur reached the court amid tight security. PPP leaders Nafeesa Shah and others were also present. Party workers gathered there chanted slogans in favour of party and their leadership.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked the accused in a case pertaining to money laundering of Rs4.14 billion through ‘fake’ bank accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited.

Businessman Anwar Majeed, widely believed to be a close aide of Zardari, could also not be produced since he had been shifted from jail to a hospital because of his ailment, the court was informed.

FIA’s investigation officer submitted a progress report regarding non-arrest of five absconding suspects, including UAE national Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah. The IO informed the court that legal procedure to declare them proclaimed offenders had been initiated. The notices issued by the court had also been pasted on their houses.

In prior hearing, the FIA official had informed the court that authorities concerned were approached for collecting details of their properties. The IO also informed the court regarding legal formalities for proclamation of the suspects.

The FIA had initially detained Lawai and Raza in July for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts in three private banks. One such bank account maintained in Summit Bank was used for suspicious transactions to several business entities, including M/s Zardari Group, M/s Omni Group and others. A case was registered against them under Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.