LAHORE: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has claimed that the former first lady’s friend Farah Khan was involved in perhaps “Asia’s largest money-laundering scandal”.
The party leaders at a presser on Sunday ran an audio clip involving a property tycoon as purported evidence of the “corruption being done by Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi and Farah Khan” when the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was in power.
Dawn was unable to independently verify the content and origin of the audiotape.
Ataullah Tarar, the Punjab government’s spokesperson, and PML-N provincial information secretary Azma Bukhari alleged that Farah Khan “ruled over the entire country from her office in Punjab” and accumulated “assets worth billions of rupees”.
Calling her Farah Gogi, Mr Tarar alleged that she used to “approve transfers and appointments” of government officials in Punjab against hefty payments and the wealth was spent on purchasing diamonds worth billions of rupees. The diamonds were sent to Dubai, where they were sold off.
He alleged that “the matter is not confined to diamond dealings as information about the selling of expensive paintings and watches will come to the fore soon”.
He said proceeds from the sale in Dubai were transferred to Pakistan through hawala and hundi.
He called upon the PTI chairman to ask Farah Gogi to return home and join investigations.
The audio clip allegedly featuring top realtor Malik Riaz and his daughter was played during the presser. The duo was talking about demands made by Farah Khan in return for some “government favours”.
In the audio clip, the daughter tells her father that Farah Khan had phoned her to inform that the first lady had asked her not to accept a three-carat diamond ring. She quoted Farah as asking her to take back the ring as “I don’t like such an ordinary object”.
Then the tycoon asks his daughter to give her what she’s asking for. “I have offered her (Farah) to buy them a five-carat [ring], which would cost Rs10 million. She says as ‘your appointment (with Farah) has been set for Saturday’, the ring should be arranged before it,” the daughter replies.
Malik Riaz asks his daughter to place an order for the ring. She says she had done so and it would be delivered the next day.
The daughter is also heard telling her father that the locks of his site [for developing a residential society] would be opened in the morning.
Without naming Farah, she quotes her as saying that [Imran] Khan Saheb had phoned, guaranteeing that he would get removed the [negative] report which had been submitted [apparently about the housing scheme site] and that [former adviser to PM on accountability] Shehzad Akbar’s letter would also be delivered to them.
According to sources, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had objected to a housing scheme by Malik Riaz in Peshawar because it was “illegal as it had been launched without seeking permission” from the authorities concerned.
Mr Tarar claimed that the government had acquired more audio recordings as “evidence against corruption of Ms Gogi”. “The clips could be sent for a forensic test if required.”
Ms Bukhari, the PML-N leader, said sarcastically the two women — Bushra Bibi and Farah Gogi — had steered Imran Khan out of poverty after running the “financial affairs of Banigala”.
“Imran Khan has hired two front women for his corrupt practices,” she alleged.
She said that so far her party had “dug up information” related to the sale of diamonds in Dubai, but details of other “wrongdoing” would surface soon.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022