Pakistan: Anti-corruption officials to interrogate Imran Khan in Al-Qadir Trust graft case

A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Friday granted the accountability bureau a four-day permission

By PTI

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Photo: Reuters file
Photo: Reuters file

Published: Fri 17 Nov 2023, 11:30 PM

A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Friday granted the accountability bureau a four-day permission to interrogate jailed former prime minister Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust graft case.

Khan, 71, has been incarcerated in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi since September 26 in various cases. Judge Muhammad Bashir conducted the in-prison hearing in the high-security jail on Friday.

During the hearing, the judge rejected the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) pleas for a physical remand and granted the anti-graft body a four-day permission to interrogate the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief inside the Adiala jail in the case about the alleged corruption of Rs 50 billion.

The Ali-Qadir Trust case is about the settlement of 190 million pounds, about Rs 50 billion, which the UK’s National Crime Agency sent to Pakistan after recovering the amount from a Pakistani property tycoon.

Khan, being the prime minister then, instead of depositing in the national treasury, allowed the businessman to use the amount to partly settle a fine of about Rs 450 billion imposed by the Supreme Court some years ago.

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Reportedly, the tycoon, in return, gifted about 57 acres of land to a trust set up by Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to establish the Al-Qadir University in the Sohawa area of the Jhelum district of Punjab.

Bibi, who is also accused in the case, was present during the hearing. The accountability court granted her interim bail in the case till November 21 after the NAB's investigation officer informed that the chairman had not issued arrest warrants against her.

Later, the hearing was adjourned till November 21.

Separately, proceedings in the cipher case were also adjourned till November 21 without any development, following the Islamabad High Court's (IHC) stay order against Khan in the case, granted earlier this week.

Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain briefly conducted the process to adjourn it.

The purported cipher (secret diplomatic cable) contained an account of a meeting between US State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan last year.

Khan, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from August 2018 to April 2022, is accused of misusing the contents of the cipher to build a narrative that his government was ousted due to a conspiracy hatched by the US, a charge repeatedly denied by Washington.

Khan and his close aide and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency in the case in August.

Qureshi was also arrested in the cipher case and is imprisoned in the Adiala jail.

Both Khan and Qureshi have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Pakistan's caretaker government has approved the jail trial of the duo in the cipher case based on an alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act while dealing with a secret diplomatic cable by the Pakistan embassy in Washington in March 2022.

Close family members of the two leaders were present in the court during the hearing.

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