ISLAMABAD: With a change of government, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated an inquiry against Farah Khan, a close friend of Imran Khan’s wife, for having several bank accounts and accumulating assets beyond means.

According to the NAB headquarters, the bureau’s Lahore chapter was authorised to conduct an inquiry against Farhat Shehzadi alias Farah Khan, who had already fled the country days before former prime minister Imran Khan was booted out of office through a vote of no confidence.

Meanwhile, a source in NAB told Dawn that the inquiry against Farah Khan had been initiated on information passed on by a government department.

The anti-corruption watchdog said Farah Khan was accused of “accumulating illegal assets beyond known sources of income, money laundering and maintaining various accounts in the name of different businesses”.

The NAB headquarters has tasked Lahore’s director general to conduct an inquiry as per law.

“A huge turnover amounting to Rs847 million has been found in [Farah Khan’s] account during the last three years, which does not commensurate with her stated account profile,” NAB said in a statement. “These credits were received in her personal account and withdrawn immediately after credit within a short time period.”

It said multiple media reports had also alleged that Farah Khan had assets beyond legal means.

While reviewing her income tax returns, it was allegedly observed that her assets have significantly increased from 2018 onwards for unknown reasons. Moreover, she has frequently been travelling to foreign jurisdictions, including nine times to the United States and six times to the United Arab Emirates.

Interestingly, disgruntled PTI leader Aleem Khan, who was once considered to be Imran Khan’s close confidant, had levelled similar allegations against Farah Khan as well as Imran Khan’s wife and former chief minister Usman Buzdar for being involved in corrupt practices.

In a recent press conference, Aleem Khan said that he had conveyed to Imran Khan about the misdeeds of Farah Khan and her group, but the PTI chairman did not pay any heed to it.

The PTI dissident also levelled several allegations against Mr Buzdar, saying he was involved in bribery over transfers and postings in Punjab. He also accused Farah Khan of being complicit in these transfers.

“Any investigation would uncover how [Farah] was forwarding the money of her alleged corruption,” Aleem Khan said at the time.

Farah Khan reportedly left for Dubai on April 5. She was also accused of using the aircraft of Punjab’s chief minister and obtaining land worth millions of rupees from real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.

A NAB source told Dawn the anti-graft watchdog would also open cases of a few more close aides of Imran Khan soon for their involvement in corruption.

On the other hand, some media reports cited Farah Khan saying in a statement that she had not hidden anything and would face the NAB case.

Ms Farah said she would appear before the watchdog in person along with her legal team. “We will neither hide ourselves nor escape any inquiry,” she was quoted as saying.

A few days ago, Farah Khan’s husband, Ahsan Jamil Gujjar, who had also fled abroad, said on a TV show that he and his wife had not done anything wrong and they would return to the country after spending holidays abroad.

He claimed that the couple used to go abroad frequently and the current trip was also a part of their normal routine.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2022

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