An accountability court on Wednesday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) eight-day remand of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who was arrested a day earlier from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Separately, a sessions court also indicted the PTI chief in the Toshakhana case. Both the hearings were held at the Islamabad Police Lines, which was given the status of a court venue as a “one-time dispensation” late on Tuesday night, amid tight security.
During the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust case, the corruption watchdog requested the court to grant 14-day remand of Imran. Judge Mohammad Bashir presided over the hearing.
The PTI chairman’s lawyer, Khawaja Harris, opposed the request and said that the case did not fall within the bureau’s ambit. He further said that NAB had not shared the inquiry report either.
“Everyone has the right to a fair trial,” he said, calling for the hearing to be held in an open court. He further said a building had been constructed on the land belonging to Al-Qadir Trust, where people received education free of cost.
Meanwhile, the NAB prosecutor told the court that Imran was shown the warrant at the time of his arrest. He also assured Imran’s lawyer that the necessary documentation would be provided.
“This is a corruption case which the UK’s National Crime Agency has probed,” he said, adding that the money received was meant to be transferred to the government of Pakistan.
“Instead of the government, the funds that were received were transferred to Bahria Town,” he said.
On the other hand, the PTI chief contradicted NAB’s version and told the court that he was shown the arrest warrant when he was taken to the bureau’s office and not at the time of his arrest.
“I haven’t gone to the washroom in 24 hours,” he told the court, adding that he wanted his physician, Dr Faisal, to be called in.
“I don’t want what happened to Maqsood chaprasi (peon) to happen to me,” he said, referring to one of the people involved in the Ramazan Sugar Mills case who died in UAE last year.
“They inject you and the person dies slowly,” he alleged. The court then reserved its verdict.
Imran indicted in Toshakhana case
Additional and District Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar presided over the hearing concerning the Toshakhana case.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had sought proceedings under the criminal law against the PTI chief. The ECP had approached the court on the matter on a reference filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition last year.
The reference alleges that Imran had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept — during his time as the prime minister and proceeds from their reported sales.
Security beefed up
Ahead of the NAB hearing today, strict security arrangements were seen outside the police lines office by a Dawn correspondent, and nearby roads have been blocked off by placing containers.
PML-N’s Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, who was present at the Police Lines office, asserted that the PTI chief’s arrest was made after “fulfilling all legal requirements”.
Separately, the Islamabad Police said in a tweet that strict security would be in place ahead of the hearing and only permitted persons would be allowed inside the court.
“Strict action will be taken against those causing damage to state and private property,” it warned. The police further said that armed security had been kept on “high alert” considering the “risks of terrorism”.
Separately, PTI leaders claimed that Imran was being denied legal representation and party leaders were not being allowed to meet him.
“So [Imran’s] lawyers and senior leadership not allowed to meet him in the hastily set up makeshift NAB court in Police Lines Guest House. Many leaders and lawyers not allowed inside premises. All signs of another kangaroo court set up,” said PTI’s Shireen Mazari.
PTI leader Babar Awan, while speaking to Geo News, termed Imran’s arrest a “state abduction” and said that party leaders were being denied access to the PTI chairman.
The PTI chairman was arrested on Tuesday from outside the Islamabad High Court under a warrant issued by the NAB that accuses him of corruption and corrupt practices under Section 9(a) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
The accountability watchdog alleges that Imran and his wife obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from Bahria Town Ltd for legalising Rs50 billion that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government.
Following Imran’s arrest, a NAB source told Dawn that “we will do our best to keep him under custody for at least four to five days”.
This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources, such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.