Islamabad, Aug 26 : PPP Co-chairman and presidential hopeful Asif Ali Zardari might have had a sigh of relief last evening after a Geneva prosecutor withdrew the money-laundering charges against him.
Zardari has fought the money-laundering cases in several local and international courts for more than ten years, while spending 11 years in different prisons in Pakistan in the past two decades.
The withdrawal of cases on Monday by the Swiss court will put an end to years of investigations. The 3.9 million Swiss francs, which were seized from these accounts, had been given to the Swiss government.
This is the same case in which former Attorney General Malik Qayyum, as the judge of the Lahore High Court, had given a verdict against former premier Benazir Bhutto and Zardari. Qayyum was later booted out of the judiciary for charges of misconduct and corruption. However, he served the PPP's government as Attorney General and appeared before the Swiss Courts on behalf of the government of Pakistan pleading the withdrawal of cases in which he himself had convicted the accused.
According to The News, now there is no case pending anywhere in the world against the contender for the Aiwan-i-Sadr (President of Pakistan), whose proud supporters will be able to keep their heads high when they walk into the office of the Election Commission on Tuesday morning to file his nomination papers for the country's highest post.
Only Zardari, whose political rivals had coined the nickname of "Mr Ten Percent," knows how much he had to suffer during all these years to get a clean chit and become "Mr Clean."
The money-laundering charges against Zardari were taken seriously by the international banking circles and the governments in 1999 when US Congress launched an intensive investigation into the allegations of money-laundering by Citibank through private banking.
A permanent sub-committee on investigation by the US Congress found two cases intriguing enough to kick off a thorough probe. Nigeria's military dictator Sani Abacha and Zardari's bank accounts qualified for this investigation and US Congress found that both had been involved in money-laundering through Citibank's negligence, said the paper.