NAB secures remand of arrested PTI leader Aleem Khan

Published February 7, 2019
Aleem Khan is under arrest for owning assets beyond his known sources of income. — File photo
Aleem Khan is under arrest for owning assets beyond his known sources of income. — File photo

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) acquired physical remand of arrested Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and former provincial minister Aleem Khan from an accountability court on Thursday.

NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua represented the anti-corruption watchdog, while Advocate Azhar Siddiq represented Khan. Khan's remand will expire on Feb 15.

NAB's arrest yesterday of Aleem Khan, who is known as a major financier of the party along with Jahangir Tareen, came as a bombshell for the party as its members believed that he had been appearing before NAB since the PML-N was in power, and that he could explain the sources of his wealth.

The PTI leader is facing multiple inquiries, including one involving offshore company Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd, one for owning assets beyond his known sources of income, and inquiries into his involvement in the Park View Housing Society, River Age Housing Society, and Multan Road.

Strict security measures were taken ahead of the hearing. The area within a three-kilometre radius of the accountability court building was sealed off with barbed wire and containers, and contingents of police, the Elite Force and Rangers were posted along the route.

A statement released by NAB following Khan's arrest on Wednesday had said that the PTI leader "established multiple companies with the purpose of real estate business and invested millions of rupees".

The body further said: "He [Khan] bought more than 900 kanals land in different mauzas of Lahore in the name of his company M/s A&A Pvt Ltd, and also paid advance for [an] additional 600 kanals of land [that] he could not account for the sources of the said investments."

NAB said it had arrested the minister fearing that he might tamper with the record of his offshore companies and other suspected dubious transactions.

The bureau also accused Khan of being involved in corruption during 2005-06, when he was secretary of Park View Cooperative Housing Society, as well as serving as a member of the Punjab Assembly and minister for information technology.

Immediately after his arrest, Khan submitted his resignation to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzadar ─ a move lauded by his colleagues in the PTI.

The ruling party's reaction to Khan's arrest was subdued. Senior leaders, in a party meeting, termed the arrest as NAB's "balancing act" that was aimed at justifying its actions against opposition leaders. However, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry later made it clear that the arrest was not a balancing act and that justice should be done.

The Punjab government has decided against making political statements over the matter as "it believes in state institutions role of dispensing justice."

Following the arrest, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and CM Buzdar held a one-on-one meeting and later chaired a meeting with cabinet members to take stock of the situation. They also decided to collect relevant information from Aleem Khan’s family.

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