Former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was arrested on Monday in a money-laundering case. It happened after a high court rejected his request for bail, moves that his supporters called politically motivated.
Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister who was assassinated in 2007, has been accused, along with his sister, of owning a company that received suspicious transactions through fake bank accounts. He is currently a member of the national assembly, and of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party led by his son.
Nationwide demonstrations will be held Tuesday to protest Zardari’s arrest and an emergency consultative meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will be held to discuss his legal options, party spokesman Murtaza Wahab said.
Members of Mr. Zardari’s party say Prime Minister Imran Khan, who won the general elections last year on an anticorruption platform, is carrying out retribution against Mr. Zardari, and is going after leading opposition politicians to distract attention from his government’s dismal performance on the economy.
Government officials denied Monday that they had any role in the arrest of Mr. Zardari, saying it was an independent decision of the National Accountability Bureau, or N.A.B., an anticorruption watchdog, after the court denied Mr. Zardari’s request for bail.
Mr. Khan’s government is grappling with a huge debt crisis and recently entered into a $6 billion bailout program with the International Monetary Fund. On Tuesday, his government will present the budget, which is widely expected to further burden a struggling population through increased taxes and cuts in subsidies.