An Islamabad accountability court on Tuesday indicted former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in the Toshakhana reference.

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

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

On Dec 19, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a fresh reference against Imran and his wife in an accountability court for retaining a jewellery set received from the Saudi crown prince against an undervalued assessment.

The anti-graft watchdog alleged in the reference that during his term as prime minister, Imran and his wife had received a total of 108 gifts from different heads of state and foreign dignitaries.

“Out of these 108 gifts, the accu­sed persons retained 58 gift boxes/sets against an undervalued amount of Rs142.1 million as assessed by appraisers,” the reference said.

During the hearing today — which was held at Adiala Jail — Imran, his spouse, PTI lawyers Shoaib Shaheen and Barrister Umar Niazi appeared in court. NAB prosecutors Sardar Muzaffar and Amjad Pervaiz were also in attendance.

As the proceedings commenced, accountability judge Muhammad Bashir indicted the PTI founder and his wife and read out loud the charges framed against them.

Imran denied the charges and said he was waiting for the day when he would meet the approvers, who had testified against him, claiming that people were kidnapped after which they became witnesses.

The court subsequently adjourned the hearing till Jan 11 and directed the NAB to produce the witnesses in the case at the next proceedings.

Separately, the judge also reserved the verdict in the 190m pound reference.

The case alleged that Imran and Bushra Bibi obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from Bahria Town Ltd for legalising Rs50bn that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government.

The reference filed by NAB said Imran played a “pivotal role in the illicit transfer of funds meant for the state of Pakistan into an account designated for the payment of land by Bahria Town, Karachi”. It also claimed that despite being given multiple opportunities to justify and provide information, the accused deliberately, with mala fide intention, refused to give information on one pretext or another.

As the proceedings commenced, copies of the case record were given to Bushra Bibi. Imran was handed over the copies during yesterday’s hearing. The judge said charges would be framed against the suspects on Jan 17 and adjourned the case.

The court also rejected Imran’s post-arrest bails in both the Toshakhana and £190m references.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, the PTI leader said it was alleged in the Toshakhana reference that he used his office boy as the prime minister for corruption of millions and billions of rupees.

“Being the premier, I used no one else but the office boy […] how is that possible?” Imran asked, adding that two persons, including an office boy, were made approvers against him.

“Is this society running on [the concept] of Amr Bil Maroof (enjoin the good)?” he further questioned. “I am being punished for trying to bring the mighty under the law,” Imran added.

Bails of Asad Umar, Imran’s sisters extended till Feb 10 in May 9 cases

Earlier in the day, a Lahore anti-terrorism Cou­­rt (ATC) court extended the pre-arrest bails of former PTI leader Asad Umar and Imran’s sisters — Uzma Khan and Aleema Khan — in multiple cases pertaining to the May 9 riots until February 10.

Imran’s arrest last year on May 9 in the Al Qadir Trust case had resulted in widespread violence and saw important military installations come under attack, on the basis of which the state had launched a severe crackdown against his party.

While Imran was released a few days later (he has since been rearrested in a separate case), scores of PTI workers and almost the entire top-tier leadership were rounded up, with many still facing court proceedings under serious charges.

Imran’s sisters appeared before the court today, while an application was filed on behalf of Umar seeking a one-time exemption from personal appearance.

The court subsequently extended their bail till February 10.

Speaking to the media outside the court, Aleema said that the end of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s lifetime disqualification was part of the “London plan”. A day earlier, the Supreme Court had nullified lifetime disqualification for lawmakers under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, effectively rendering Nawaz free to contest polls.

She alleged that her brother had informed the country of this plan a year and a half ago. She further claimed that an “agreement” was made in London, where Nawaz spent nearly four years in self-exile, and the current scenario was playing out according to a script.

She held that women had protested peacefully in May yet they were still imprisoned. Talking about Imran, Aleema said she fully believed the judges were committed to ensuring justice. She said a wave of happiness would spread throughout Pakistan if Imran was given justice.

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