KARACHI - A banking court in Karachi on Friday extended the pre-arrest bail of PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others for the sixth time in a money laundering case.

These accused appeared before the court which extended their bail until January 7, in the case pertaining to illegal transaction of Rs4.14 billion through fake bank accounts.

Investigation officer of the Federal Investigation Agency told the banking court that joint investigation team (JIT) probing the case has submitted its report in the Supreme Court and now awaits the apex court's orders.

The fake accounts case revolves around a 2015 inquiry into suspicious transactions wherein 29 ‘benami’ accounts were identified – 16 of them in the Summit Bank, eight in the Sindh Bank and five in the United Bank Limited.

According to the FIA, seven individuals were found involved in suspiciously transacting Rs35 billion. Hussain Lawai, who is former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and a close aide of Zardari; Omni Group of Companies chairman Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed; and co-accused Taha Raza, who is head of the Summit Bank’s corporate unit, have been arrested in the case.

The main suspects, Lawai and Taha, and co accused Majeed and his son were not produced in the court in yesterday’s hearing.

They all have been shifted to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on the orders of the Supreme Court, which took action on reports that PPP’s Sindh government was allegedly influencing the case and they were receiving VIP treatment in jail.

During Friday’s hearing Lawai’s lawyer Shaukat Hayat said that the banking court had issued production order of his client but the orders were defied.

He pleaded the court to issue a notice to the Adiala Jail authorities and initiate contempt of court proceeding against them. The court directed him to submit a written complaint in this regard.

Anawar Majeed and Ghani Majeed are also being held in Adiala Jail and the banking court had also issued their production order in the last hearing.

Their counsel submitted that his clients were shifted to Punjab for investigation which has now been completed therefore they should be brought back to Karachi.

Another main accused, Taha Raza, who is in Landhi jail, was also not produced in the court. A jail official submitted a report claiming that the under-trail prisoner (UTP) has received fracture on his leg and was not able to move. The report claimed that the doctors have advised Taha bed rest.

Appearing as a lawyer for Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur, Farooq H Naek submitted an application pleading the court to extend their interim bail which the court granted till the next hearing.

On Zardari's call, an assortment of PPP leaders, including former Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah, Khurshed Shah, former federal minister Rehman Malik, Saeed Ghani as well as party workers had gathered outside the court.

The PPP workers chanted slogans in the favour of their leader in the court premises as well as in the courtroom.

Talking to the media after the hearing, PPP leader Khurshed Shah alleged that PPP was being subjected to a media trial before the judicial trial. "No one has seen the JIT report yet it is being leaked from time to time [through the media], he said.

Shah said that his party had never given up even to the dictators and his party leadership was able to face such conspiracies.

He added that the PPP leadership has seen the court's good and bad eras as well as their good and bad decision, and they are mentally prepared for everything.