ISLAMABAD: PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who is already imprisoned in Adiala Jail in the cipher case, has also been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Qadir Trust case and Toshakhana reference.

The accountability watchdog arrested the former PM on Monday after Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir ratified the arrest warrants and directed the Adiala Jail superintendent to execute them.

Earlier during the hearing, the judge asked the NAB prosecutor about the status of Mr Khan’s pleas to revive his bail petitions in the two cases.

NAB’s Deputy Prosecu­tor General Sardar Muza­f­far Abbasi said the pleas were pending in the Islam­abad High Court (IHC) and there was no restraining order issued so far.

Judge Bashir then asked about the further legal course. To which the NAB’s prosecutor said that under the law, the accused is required to be produced before the court within 24 hours of arrest.

He added that arrest warrants for under-custody suspects had been issued in the past, and the court might order Adiala Jail SP Jail to execute the warrants.

In response to another query regarding the Special Court (Official Secrets Act), Mr Abbasi said the Special Court judge has also accorded his approval.

The prosecution pleaded for Mr Khan’s custody “to conclude the investigation in both cases”.

Subsequently, the accountability judge permitted NAB to arrest and investigate the PTI chief.

The NAB has filed the reference against Mr Khan for allegedly misusing his authority as prime minister while retaining state gifts from Toshakhana.

In August, Mr Khan was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by an Islamabad trial court in a separate Toshakhana case. The case, filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), had accused Mr Khan of not mentioning the details of state gifts in his tax declarations.

Later, the IHC set aside the sentence and ordered his release. However, he was not freed as he was undergoing trial in the cipher case.

In the Al-Qadir Trust case, the PTI chairman and his wife have been accused of receiving billions of rupees and hundreds of kanals of land from Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz for allegedly legalising Rs50 billion that were identified and returned to Pakistan by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

The former prime minister is also accused of misleading the federal cabinet by concealing facts and documents related to the settlement agreement reached with the NCA. The money received from the UK was supposed to be deposited in the national exchequer, but it was credited into the Supreme Court’s account against the Rs450bn penalty imposed on Bahria Town for illegal land acquisition in Karachi.

On May 9, NAB arrested the PTI chief in the Al-Qadir Trust case, which sparked countrywide protests by his supporters during which public and private properties were ransacked.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2023

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