Court rejects NAB plea for Imran Khan's remand in £190 million settlement case

Hearing on NAB plea for PTI chairman's custody held at Adiala Jail

Arfa Feroz Zake
Security officers escort Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Islamabad High Court, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 12, 2023. — Reuters
Security officers escort Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Islamabad High Court, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 12, 2023. — Reuters 

  • Hearing held at Adiala Jail, where ex-PM is jailed in cipher case.
  • Court rejects NAB's plea for Imran's custody for interrogation.
  • "Jail trial is a joke," says PTI chief's sister Aleema Khan. 

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday rejected the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) plea seeking physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the £190 million settlement case.

The hearing was held at the Adiala Jail, where the former prime minister is currently incarcerated in the cipher case.

The PTI chief was arrested on Sunday in the Toshakhana and the Al-Qadir Trust cases after an accountability court in Islamabad issued his arrest warrants.

During the hearing, the NAB officials sought the PTI chief's physical remand for interrogation.

However, accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir turned down the request while announcing the reserved verdict on the anti-graft watchdog's request.

After the hearing, Imran's sister Aleema Khan said — while talking to media outside the jail — that "those who conspired against PTI chairman are outside the country".

"Jail trial is a joke, as no one has access to it," she said, adding that everyone linked to the settlement should be tried to find out where did £190 million came from.

The PTI chief has been indicted by the special court and 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.

Imran — 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, Imran 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 Imran 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 Imran, 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, Imran 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.