Monday, 21 September, 2020
Minister shares ‘evidence’ of Zardari’s New York apartment

Minister shares ‘evidence’ of Zardari’s New York apartment

As part of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s campaign seeking disqualification of opposition party lawmaker and former president Asif Ali Zardari, federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi on Saturday shared on social media copies of some tax bills purportedly issued in the former’s name for his property in New York.

Mr Zaidi, however, did not give details whether he had shared the same “evidence” with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for Mr Zardari’s disqualification or only chose the social media platform to make them public.

“Just for clarity’s sake... attached are the latest

property tax bills of 524 East 72 street, Apt 37F, NY, NY 10021,” the federal minister tweeted with the copies of “property tax bill” purportedly issued by the New York department of finance and said: “bills are all in the name of Asif Ali Zardari.” The copies clearly mentioned the name and showed that the last bill was issued in November 2018 seeking payment of US $4,947 as property tax.

The fresh claims were made only a couple of days after the PTI formally filed an application before the ECP in Karachi seeking his disqualification for concealing assets. In a complaint, PTI lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman alleged Mr Zardari owned an apartment in Belaire Condominiums, located at 524 East, 72nd Street, New York, but had not declared it in his nomination for the last general elections in which he returned to the National Assembly.

“Because of this act of his, Mr Asif Ali Zardari under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan, ... as per past precedent, should be disqualified from holding public office under Article 62 (1)(f), as in my opinion he ceases to be truthful and sagacious. This serious violation of the law needs to be examined by you since Mr Zardari is a former president of Pakistan and co-chairs one of the major political parties of this country,” the application stated.

Another document that surfaced shows that one Mehreen Shah was granted the power of attorney for the condo unit by Zardari.

However, the veracity of the documents could not be independently confirmed.

The PPP called the PTI’s media campaign against Mr Zardari part of “government’s agenda” to put leadership of national stature behind the bars and for that it was making moves against the opposition parties one after another.

“It’s absolutely a fake claim and we would move the court against that baseless allegation,” said senior PPP leader Latif Khosa. “It is agenda of the government to arrest all leaders of the opposition and send them to jail.

“The property of Mr Zardari in New York which has been made a fresh excuse to attack the PPP leadership had been sold 20 years ago and he now owns no property there.”

According to the document – purportedly a bill issued by New York City department of finance, Asif Ali Zardari was required to pay $2472.57 in property tax on or before October 15, 2018.

Even before the application seeking Zardari’s disqualification had been filed, federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told the media that PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari had become ineligible to remain member of the parliament under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

He said Mr Zardari’s apartment in Manhattan, New York had not declared in his assets, and as per Article 62 and 63 he should be disqualified as member of the parliament for concealing his assets.

Mr Zardari rejected the allegation saying that the rivals could not intimidate the PPP and its leadership by “forged” documents.

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