ISLAMABAD: While granting protective bail to PTI Chairman Imran Khan in over half a dozen cases, a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday made it clear that the former premier had not been given a blanket cover in all existing and new criminal cases.

Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, addressing Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Duggal, said the court had restrained police from arresting Mr Khan in those cases registered against him while he was in custody after May 9.

However, the judge explained that the police had not been stopped from taking any action in those cases registered against Mr Khan after his release. Mr Duggal apprised the court that its order might be taken out of context.

The Islamabad police earlier informed the court that Mr Khan was booked in six cases after May 9. According to police record, Margalla police had booked him in one case prior to the said date for violating Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Al-Qadir Trust scam linked to NCA settlement issue, says PM’s aide

The court granted him protective bail for 10 days and disposed of the petitions.

NCA settlement

Justice Aurangzeb also disposed of the petition for pre-arrest bail of Mr Khan in the UK settlement case, directing the ex-premier to approach the relevant accountability court to seek relief within three working days.

Acting upon the court order, Mr Khan appeared before the accountability court in Islamabad.

Judge Mohammad Bashir of the accountability court granted him interim bail against surety bonds of Rs500,000 in the NAB case till June 19.

The same court disposed of the pre-arrest bail petition of Mr Khan’s spouse, Bushra Bibi, after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) informed that her arrest warrants had not been issued till then. The bureau told the court that the custody of Bushra Bibi was not required if she would cooperate with the investigation team.

According to the anti-graft watchdog, Mr Khan’s PTI government struck a deal with property tycoon Malik Riaz that caused a loss of more than millions of pounds to the national exchequer, in a quid pro quo arrangement with the real estate business.

In December 2019, UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) had accepted a settlement offer of £190m, which included sale of a London property. It was valued approximately at £50m and all of the funds landed in the frozen accounts of Mr Riaz. Although the settlement with the NCA was of £190m, Mr Riaz gave only £140m to the NCA for onward transfer to Pakistan. Payment of the remaining £50m was linked to the sale of Hyde Park property.

Link to Al-Qadir Trust

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Legal Reforms and Accountability Irfan Qadir at a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday called for timely conclusion of the NCA settlement case.

He said the NCA was “deceived” in that the amount of £190m that had to be deposited in Pakistan’s national exchequer was handed over to a property tycoon.

The premier’s aide called for adopting zero-tolerance policy against such corrupt practices. He said the matter was linked to the Al-Qadir Trust case as not only 458-kanal land having an estimated value of Rs240m but also a huge donation was given to the trust.

He alleged that Mr Khan, Bushra Bibi, her friend Farah, and Zulfi Bukhari were involved in the scandal. He said it was a simple open-and-shut case, but the matter was being made complicated.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2023

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