Accountability court orders freezing properties of PTI leaders, other accused in £190m case

Judge Muhammad Bashir also orders to confiscate vehicles registered in the names of absconding accused

Farah Gogi (left), PTI leaders Shahzad Akbar and Zulfi Bukhari. — Instagram/PID.APP
Farah Gogi (left), PTI leaders Shahzad Akbar and Zulfi Bukhari. — Instagram/PID.APP

  • Court issues perpetual arrest warrants for absconding accused.
  • NAB filed graft reference against PTI founder last month.
  • Accountability court had declared accused as proclaimed offender. 

RAWALPINDI: An accountability court in Islamabad ordered freezing properties and bank accounts of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shahzad Akbar, Zulfi Bukhari and other accused in the £190 million case.

Accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir also ordered to confiscate the vehicles registered in the names of accused including former first lady Bushra Bibi’s close aide Farah Gogi.

Last month, the accountability court had declared the aforementioned accused as proclaimed offender over their failure to join the probe.

In today’s hearing, the court also issued perpetual arrest warrants for the absconding accused.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on December 1, 2023, filed a reference against PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi and others in the case of £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK.

The other accused named in the reference are Farhat Shezadi (Farah Gogi), Akbar, Bukhari and others.

In the reference, NAB, Rawalpindi, said that accused persons in connivance with each other have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices as defined and punishable under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

What is £190 million settlement case?

The former prime minister is facing charges of corruption of billions of rupees in a case also involving a property tycoon.

Khan — along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders — are 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 a 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.

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

Bukhari, Awan, Bushra Bibi, and her close friend Farah 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 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.