Imran Khan likely to face jail trial in £190 million settlement case

By
Arfa Feroz Zake
|
Pakistan´s former Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) leaves after appearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad on July 26, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan´s former Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) leaves after appearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad on July 26, 2023. — AFP 

  • NAB arrests Imran Khan in Al-Qadir Trust, Toshakhana cases. 
  • Considers different options to seek Khan's physical remand.
  • Notification regarding jail trial to be issued soon: sources. 


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's trial in the £190 million settlement case is likely to take place at Adiala jail, where the former prime minister is currently being held in the cipher case. 

The PTI chairman was arrested a day earlier in the Al-Qadir Trust and Toshakhana cases after an accountability court in Islamabad issued his arrest warrants. 

A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team, led by Assistant Director Muhammad Asif and Waqarul Hasan, visited Adiala jail and executed arrest warrants through the jail superintendent. 

Earlier today, Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir was asked by journalists whether Khan will face a jail trial in the settlement case as a notification is being passed in this matter. 

At this, Judge Bashir replied that it was possible if the notification was approved. He added that NAB can tell where the former premier will be produced. 

"Will you also go to Adiala jail then?" the judge questioned the journalists present in the court. 

The journalists replied that they were not allowed to enter and report inside Adiala jail. 

The judge assured the journalists that they would do something about the matter if a jail trial took place. He added that the open court allows everyone to listen to the hearing. 

Earlier during a hearing, the judge asked the NAB prosecutor when the PTI chairman will be produced. 

"Is Imran Khan in jail or transferred to the police station?" he inquired. 

However, the NAB prosecutor showed a lack of knowledge of the question. 

Judge Bashir then directed the prosecutor to check whether a notification about the jail trial had been issued. 

NAB mulls different options for physical remand

Meanwhile, sources revealed that NAB was considering different options to seek Imran Khan's physical remand. 

The sources added that it was important to get a notification from the law ministry for the former prime minister's physical remand in Adiala jail. 

"The notification regarding the jail trial will be issued soon," said the sources within the NAB, adding that it is important to present the accused in court within 24 hours of arrest.  

The PTI chief has been indicted by the special court is currently incarcerated in Adiala jail in the cipher case. 

The £190 million settlement case

The PTI chairman is facing charges of corruption of billions of rupees in a case involving a property tycoon.

Khan — along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders — is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and the property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of £190 million to the national exchequer.

As per the charges, Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rs50 billion — £190 million at the time — sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the Pakistani government as part of the agreement with the property tycoon.

They are also accused of getting undue benefit in the form of over 458 kanals of land at Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al Qadir University.

During the PTI government, the NCA seized assets worth 190 million pounds from the property tycoon in Britain.

The agency said the assets would be passed to the government of Pakistan and the settlement with the Pakistani property tycoon was “a civil matter, and does not represent a finding of guilt”.

Subsequently, then-prime minister Khan got approval for the settlement with the UK crime agency from his cabinet on December 3, 2019, without disclosing the details of the confidential agreement.

It was decided that the money would be submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the tycoon.

Subsequently, the Al-Qadir Trust was established in Islamabad a few weeks after the PTI-led government approved the agreement with the property tycoon.

Zulfi Bukhari, Babar Awan, Bushra Bibi, and her close friend Farah Khan were appointed as members of the trust.

Two to three months after the cabinet’s approval, the property tycoon transferred 458 canals of land to Bukhari, a close aide of the PTI chief, which he later transferred to the trust.

Later, Bukhari and Awan opted out as the trustees. That trust is now registered in the name of Khan, Bushra Bibi and Farah.

NAB officials were earlier probing the alleged misuse of powers in the process of recovery of “dirty money” received from the UK crime agency.

Following the emergence of "irrefutable evidence" in the case, the inquiry was converted into an investigation.

According to the NAB officials, Khan and his wife obtained land worth billions of rupees from the property tycoon, to build an educational institute, in return for striking a deal to give legal cover to the property tycoon’s black money received from the UK crime agency.