Rana Sanaullah provides details of Imran’s arrest in Al-Qadir Trust case

Published May 9, 2023
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah provided details on the arrest of former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case on Tuesday.

In a shocking turn of events, Imran Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court’s premises earlier today where he was present for two hearings on Tuesday afternoon.

Soon after the arrest, Islamabad police released a statement quoting Inspector General of Police Akbar Nasir as saying that Imran had been arrested in relation to the case which alleges that the PTI chief and his wife obtained billions of rupees from a real estate firm for legalising a laundered amount of Rs50 billion that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government.

Providing further details during a press conference in Islamabad, Sanaullah said Imran was arrested by officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) specifically in the Al-Qadir Trust case, adding that there were “dozens” of other cases with corruption inquiries in progress against the former premier. He added that the PTI chief was currently in NAB custody.

The interior minister said a laundered amount of 190 million pounds or around Rs60 billion belonging to a “property tycoon” was caught in the United Kingdom. Sanaullah said that while a property tycoon was definitely a beneficiary in the case but the crime “is his (Imran)”.

“According to the law, this amount rightfully belonged to the people of Pakistan,” he added, further saying that it was to be deposited in the national treasury and the UK government had contacted the Pakistani government regarding the amount’s return.

Meanwhile, Sanaullah alleged that former accountability czar Mirza Shehzad Akbar had gotten involved and “an agreement was then realised, as a result of which an Al-Qadir Trust was made”.

The interior minister said that subsequently property of 240 kanals in Bani Gala and another 458-kanal property in Sohawa were registered in the trust’s name. Sanaullah said he had previously provided details of the properties and had challenged the PTI chief to answer that “Al-Qadir trust was made by you to hide this corruption and bribery.”

The interior minister said Imran and his wife Bushra Bibi were the only two trustees in the matter.

“The 240 kanals in Bani Gala are registered in the name of Farah Gogi. The total worth of this property is around Rs5-7bn,” he said, alleging that Akbar had also taken Rs2bn for his “services”.

“Instead of bringing that Rs60bn amount in the national treasury, it was adjusted in the Supreme Court account of the property tycoon whose case was under trial in the apex court. Meaning his amount was returned back to him.”

The interior minister rued that not even the Supreme Court had taken notice of the matter as to the source of the amount, who it belonged to and why it was coming to Pakistan. Sanaullah said he challenged all PTI leaders wailing about Imran’s arrest to tell who Al-Qadir’s trustees were and provide a money trail for the property bought in the trust’s name.

He said it was a “matter of shame” that during the time this corruption was committed and permission was taken for Akbar to go to a UK court and give a statement on behalf of the Pakistani government for the amount to be adjusted in the property tycoon’s account, “at that time he (Imran) was making false corruption cases against his [political] opponents.”

“Look at this person’s hypocrisy that when he was … making false corruption cases against people, he himself was [involved] in such disgusting corruption that he dealt a loss of Rs60bn to the national treasury and was getting property worth Rs6bn registered in his name.”

The interior minister said evidence was present for all of the above developments.

Sanaullah said NAB had issued notices to the PTI chief regarding the corruption cases against him and asked him to present himself and become a part of the investigation. He added that there was no need for extensive investigations if Imran had become involved since there was documentary proof and evidence present in the cases.

“It was necessary for him to present himself and give answers but he did not do so. He challenged those notices in the high court and ultimately the high court said that the [legal] process in accordance with law cannot be stopped and he should become a part of the investigation and submit his response but despite that, he did not feel it appropriate to become a part of the investigation. Because of this NAB had to implement his arrest.”

He said the high court had taken notice of the matter and said the government had no complaint about it.

Sanaullah said Akbar would be brought back to the country, adding that the government would fully facilitate NAB if the institution chose to take action against him. He said Imran’s cabinet at the time also had some responsibility in the matter and should be made part of the investigation.

The interior minister further said that the Toshakhana case against the PTI chief was also “proven”, saying that Imran was “committing theft” when false cases were being filed against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Imran’s arrest and govt response to protests

Sanaullah said lawyers had attempted to condemn Imran’s arrest and said it did not befit them to try to become an obstacle in a legal process, adding that the forces present at the IHC had implemented the arrest in a very “balanced and better manner”.

The interior minister stated that the arrest had taken place in accordance with the law, adding that NAB was an independent institution and the government had no control over it, nor had it attempted to do so.

“I as the interior minister can say on oath that I have never met a NAB officer nor have I taken a briefing on this case.”

Responding to a question, the interior minister also rebuffed allegations from the PTI that the arrest was part of any vindictive action against Imran, saying how could it be so when evidence for the case was present. “This is corruption. Documented corruption. If they ask for the documents then they can be presented in the morning,” he added.

The interior minister said there was resistance shown at the time of Imran’s arrest but it was not so widespread that anyone got significantly hurt apart from being pushed around.

The interior minister said that he had instructed all the provincial chief secretaries, governments and inspector generals of police that if the PTI attempted to create a law and order situation on Imran’s arrest then they should be “strictly” dealt with with no permission for any roadblocks.

“They have no right to do this and if anyone tries to do so then the law will be implemented against them with its full might.”

Questioned about the role of the Rangers in today’s arrest, Sanaullah said the force was “constantly deployed” in Islamabad and provided support in Imran’s arrest so it could be implemented without violence or any untoward incident.

“There is no violence as such. Some mirrors shattered because of their (PTI) gunmen and lawyers when they shoved people around but Rangers did not break any mirrors.”

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