Pakistan Formally charges ex-President Zardari for graft

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani court on Monday formally billed the nation’s former President Asif Ali Zardari in two corruption cases, escalating the legal challenges facing the currently leading opposition lawmaker and widower of assassinated former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The evolution came as Zardari’s celebration and a crucial anti-government ally were planning for a huge rally against Prime Minister Imran Khan after this month. Zardari was released on bail on medical reasons last December, six months after his arrest.

Zardari became president in 2008, after Pakistan’s former military dictator Pervez Musharraf had been forced to resign. Bhutto served double as a prime minister before she had been murdered by the Taliban at a bomb and gun attack in 2007. Zardari served as Pakistan’s president before 2013.

He told reporters he wasn’t surprised with the indictment and charges are something that he faces whenever he’s in the resistance.

A member of parliament, Zardari is accused of getting heaps of fake bank account, a charge he denies, saying he’s been victimized by Khan’s authorities. Since coming to power, Khan has pledged to create good on his election campaign promise to get rid of corruption.

The government claims that the corruption cases against Zardari started during ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure.

Throughout his rule, Sharif was targeted at comparable mass protests from Khan.

Last week, Sharif — talking from his exile in London — accused Pakistan’s powerful military of rigging the 2018 election that attracted Khan to electricity.

The 70-year-old Sharif, who served three times as prime minister, has been ousted in 2017 over corruption allegations. Khan, a world-renowned former cricket player, came into power in 2018.

Sharif was released on bond last year for four months, to find medical care overseas and was in London since November. Last month, a court issued arrest warrants for Sharif, who had been previously sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption and money laundering charges stemming from disclosures from the Panama Papers.

Pakistani authorities on Monday initiated a second legal case against Sharif on his newest remarks about the army.