Imran likely to be in NAB custody for ‘four to five days’

Published May 10, 2023
This image, from a video shared by the PTI on Twitter, shows Imran Khan being arrested on Tuesday.
This image, from a video shared by the PTI on Twitter, shows Imran Khan being arrested on Tuesday.

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan, who was arrested on Tuesday, is likely to remain under the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for four to five days, as the bureau requests the court for his maximum remand allowed under the law.

A NAB source told Dawn on Tuesday that Mr Khan will be presented before the accountability court today (Wednesday).

“We will do our best to keep him under custody for at least four to five days,” the source said.

Under new amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, the duration of physical remand has been cut from 90 days to 14 days, granted by any court.

“We will seek the maximum physical remand of 14 days from the court,” he said, adding that the court was expected to grant at least four to five days remand.

Accountability watchdog justifies PTI chairman’s arrest through Rangers

When asked about the condition of the PTI chief, the source said Mr Khan was detained in NAB’s Rawalpindi/Islamabad regional headquarters “in a comfortable atmosphere”.

Mr Khan will not be “treated harshly”, rather he will only be questioned regarding his alleged involvement in the case and seeking monetary benefits.

In an official statement, the bureau has also given the details about the case against Mr Khan.

‘Lawful arrest’

The anti-graft watchdog has also justified Mr Khan’s arrest with the help of Rangers from inside the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises on Tuesday and termed it legal and purely according to the NAB laws.

“NAB arrested former prime minister Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case. The case relates to illegal acquisition of land and construction for Al-Qadir University involving unlawful benefit given in recovery of prime proceeds (190 million pounds) through National Crime Agency, UK,” the statement said.

“The arrest has been made after fulfilling the lawful procedures of inquiry and investigation conducted by NAB,” the anti-graft watchdog asserted.

It said during the process of inquiry/investigation, several notices were issued to Mr Khan and his wife as they were the trustees of Al-Qadir Trust.

“However, none of the call-up notices was responded to by the former prime minister or his wife.”

Meanwhile, the NAB is also out to arrest other alleged characters in the Al-Qadir University and Trust case — in which Mr Khan was arrested — and has completed the process to issue a red warrant through Interpol to arrest Mr Khan’s former adviser on accountability, Shehzad Akbar.

The name statement accused Mr Akbar of being “the key person” in the case.

“He [Mr Akbar] and the former prime minister misled the federal cabinet by concealing the documents related to the settlement agreement. Money was received under the settlement agreement and was supposed to be deposited in the national exchequer,” it added.

The NAB statement said the process of issuing of Red notice against former adviser Shehzad Akbar, who is absconding, has already been initiated.

During the inquiry, NAB served notices to as many as 21 PTI leaders, who were part of the federal cabinet when the summary to deposit the money in the Supreme Court’s account was approved. These members included Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Murad Saeed, Pervez Khattak, Shafqat Mahmood, Shireen Mazari, Ali Zaidi and Hammad Azhar.

According to the media reports NAB had earlier summoned real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and other beneficiaries. According to a NAB’s notice, Mr Riaz had been asked to appear before a combined investigation team on Dec 1 last year at the bureau’s Rawalpindi headquarters.

It said the inquiry into allegations of misuse of authority, financial gains and criminal breach of trust had revealed that Ali Riaz Malik and others entered into an out-of-court settlement agreement with Britain’s National Crime Agency for the repatriation of funds to the government of Pakistan.

“Moreover, M/s Bahria Town donated land measuring 458 acres, four marlas and 58 square feet, situated at Mauza Barkala, Tehsil Sohawa, District Jhelum, for Al Qadir Trust University. Therefore, you are in possession of information /evidence whatsoever, which relates to the commission of the said offence(s),” the notice added.

Mr Riaz was asked to furnish a complete record of the agreement through which the land was donated to Al Qadir Trust.

In his press conference on Tuesday following the arrest, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also accused Mr Khan and his wife of accepting Rs5bn and hundreds of kanals of land from Bahria Town for protecting the real estate firm in a money laundering case. He alleged that Mr Khan’s government extended the property tycoon a favour by protecting the Rs50bn repatriated to Pakistan.

After that, Mr Riaz allotted 458 kanals of land, with an on-paper value of Rs530m, to a trust owned by the PTI chief and his wife.

The minister had said another 240 kanals were transferred to Farah Shehzadi, commonly known as Farah and believed to be a close friend of Mr Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi.In March 2022, a three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, accepted a settlement of Rs460bn offered by Bahria Town, after the court found that the land acquired by the company for its housing society was illegal.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2023

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