ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday dispelled the impression of any forward bloc in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and asserted that a decision regarding the PTI deserters was yet to be taken.

After the trial proceeding in £190 million corruption reference in which the court granted post-arrest bail to his wife, Bushra Bibi, Mr Khan said there was “no major differences” among the party leaders. But he admitted a division among some party leaders and said he would talk to them during their routine visit to Adiala jail on July 4.

Referring to the US Congress resolution on Pakistani election, he said national and international media had raised question on the transparency of Feb 8 elections. He criticised the government for rebutting the resolution and said it was high time for introspection. He said the resolution could not be termed US “interference” as it questioned election transparency unlike the cipher that “threatened” the elected regime. He added that he still stood by his words about Donald Lu’s interference in Pakistan’s domestic affairs.

He also criticised the government for burdening people with taxes and price hike, instead of cutting its own expenses in the financial budget. He warned that the budget would boost inflation.

Bushra Bibi granted bail in £190 million graft case

This was the time to bring the country out of the crises, he said, suggesting fair and transparent fresh election as the only solution. He said a government elected with the mandate of public could bring the reforms to revive the economy as well as to end the miseries of common man.

Mr Khan complained that while former premier Nawaz Sharif had been allowed to hold meetings with scores of party leaders in jail, he was denied even a plain paper. He also accused the intelligence officials of managing the jail administration.

The former PM has already filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking judicial intervention in the affairs of Rawalpindi Central Jail, alleging that the prison was being managed by the officials of the spy agency. In the petition filed through his counsel Shoaib Shaheen, Mr Khan claimed that the prison was virtually controlled by some major and colonel of ISI.

Bail granted to Bushra Bibi

Earlier, Judge Mohammad Ali Warraich of the accountability court granted post-arrest bail to Mr Khan’s spouse Bushra Bibi in £190m corruption case.

During the hearing, deputy prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Sardar Muzaffar Khan Abbasi informed the judge that the NAB chairman had never issued the warrants of arrest for Bushra Bibi in this case. Subsequently, the court granted her bail. But she was not released due to her conviction in Iddat case.

During the trial proceeding, the judge concluded the cross-examination of three more witnesses. In all, 27 witnesses have been cross-examined in the case so far.

NAB special prosecutor Amjad Pervaiz while concluding the arguments on Mr Khan’s bail plea in the case informed the Islamabad High Court that the trial of the ex-premier and his spouse was about to conclude.

He said that about 10 to 15 witnesses out of 59 prosecution witnesses would be dropped.

The gist of allegations against Mr Khan, as made out from the reference, is that as the then prime minister, on a note of Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the then chairman of the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), placed the matter before the federal cabinet on Dec 3, 2019, and got approval with respect to execution of the deed of confidentiality qua the legal framework agreement between the National Crime Agency, the United Kingdom (NCA, the UK) and family of Malik Riaz for repatriation of the sum of £190m into the Supreme Court accounts, established for the purposes of payment of liability of the Bahria Town (Pvt) Limited for land allotted to it in Malir.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2024

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