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Situationer: Facts don’t square with Imran’s new claim in £190m case

5 min read

The current case of NAB pertains to Imran Khan taking bribes, which is a new case.

Imran khan

KARACHI: One of the most important cases against the PTI chairman at the moment is the case of 190 million pounds, in which he is accused of not returning the illegal money seized in the UK from Pakistan’s biggest property tycoon during his tenure to the Pakistani government. He is accused of returning the amount again to the tycoon so that it could be paid in the head of the fine imposed by the Supreme Court on the tycoon.

In return for his favour, Khan acquired 460 kanals of land in Punjab from the same business tycoon and created the Abdul Qadir Trust to build a university on that land.

At present, this case is progressing rapidly in NAB. The PTI chairman is accused of misusing his public position for his personal gain, but he has now come out with a new defence in public regarding this case which is misleading and completely opposite to the facts.

The PTI chairman tweeted on July 26 that the British National Crime Agency’s settlement of 190 million pounds with the business tycoon included Hyde Park, a British property worth about 50 million pounds. The property was owned by Hasan Nawaz, son of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and was bought by the business tycoon in 2016 at double the price.

Imran Khan further wrote in his tweet that in 2020, NAB itself investigated the transaction between NCA and a business tycoon and the inquiry was closed.

Therefore, the case of Al-Qadir was opened just to exact revenge on me, although there was no basis for it. The sale of the property at a double price to the business tycoon likely hints at kickbacks from the Sharif family as the property was sold at a time when major revelations in the form of the Panama Papers came out while Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister, Khan said.

Now, not only Imran Khan is accused in the case of Al-Qadir Trust and 190 million pounds, but Shahzad Akbar, the former head of the Asset Recovery Unit, is also accused. After Khan’s tweet, he also tweeted some NAB documents in his defense. He wrote that the NCA 190 million pounds case scam had proved a hoax as NAB was aware of the fact that in 2020, the money under this agreement was to go to the Supreme Court’s account and the whole mess was created to sell 1 Hyde Park at the double price. NAB formally closed this case in 2020, he wrote and asked if NAB had recovered 80 million pounds from Hassan Nawaz.

Chairman PTI and Shahzad Akbar are basically presenting the defence in this case that in 2020, NAB itself investigated the transaction between NCA and business tycoon and the inquiry was closed. Therefore, the case of Al-Qadir Trust has been made by NAB only to target the PTI chairman. Now, there are basically two main issues in this defence. The first issue is that NAB’s closure of this case at the stage of complaint verification by the PTI chairman in his own government is a scandal in itself. The second issue in this defence is that in 2020, the case which was closed by NAB in the complaint verification stage was not related to Imran Khan but related to shady transactions of the business tycoon.

The case in which NAB closed the inquiry in 2020 was of a different nature. That inquiry was neither against Chairman PTI, nor his wife Bushra Bibi mentioned in it, nor was it about Al-Qadir Trust. Nor were the facts of the Al-Qadir Trust case revealed at that time. It did not include the role of the cabinet, nor did it mention Shahzad Akbar.

The documents shared by Shahzad Akbar in his tweet on July 26, by which he is calling the 190 million pound case a scam, are the minutes of the 2020 executive board meeting of NAB and in those documents, the case is closed by saying: It was said that this case related to business tycoon and others is at the complaint verification stage and the DG NAB has informed that the National Crime Agency has taken notice of the matter and as a result of this, cash has been acquired through an out-of-court settlement and the proceeds have been transferred to the Supreme Court and the process of auctioning the property is underway.It was also said in the NAB executive board meeting that the UK was looking into the matter and if the commitment was not fulfilled, the UK could initiate criminal proceedings in this regard and NAB could also take fresh notice. It was recommended that the complaint verification be closed with the condition that it could be reopened if the commitment was not met, and on this recommendation, the NAB chairman had closed this matter.

Now this is the text of the document on the basis of which the PTI chairman and Shahzad Akbar are presenting their defensc and claiming that this case has already been closed by NAB, but the interesting thing is that in this complaint verification, there is no mention of the PTI chairman anywhere, there is no mention of the Al-Qadir Trust and there is no mention of the secret approval from the cabinet, which clearly means that the complaint verification was not related to the PTI chairman taking bribes as a public official but it was related to shady transactions of the business tycoon. Then NAB chairman Javed Iqbal had closed it at the complaint verification stage however by that time, NAB had arrested opposition leaders for months at this stage. This raises questions not only on the former NAB chairman but also on the PTI chairman himself.

On the other hand, Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders told Shahzad Iqbal, the host of Naya Pakistan programmed, that once NAB had closed an inquiry, it could not start investigations again, therefore, under the new law, no case could be made against the PTI chairman. But when we looked at the new law of NAB, it only says that If NAB closes any inquiry or investigation once, it will not be reopened without the permission of the court.

That is, according to the new law, no case of NAB can be reopened without the permission of the court after it has been closed once during inquiry or investigation.

But the important thing is that according to the minutes of NAB’s 2020 meeting shared by the PTI chairman and Shehzad Akbar, NAB had closed the case at the complaint verification stage, not at the inquiry or investigation stage, which means that the case that was closed in 2020 did not reach the inquiry stage and neither was the role of Imran Khan mentioned in it.

Therefore, the current case of NAB pertains to Imran Khan taking bribes. It is a case of misuse of public office, which is a completely new case. In this case, there is a mention of a business tycoon, his role is there, but the main case is against the PTI chairman. Therefore, the PTI chairman linking his current case with the 2020 inquiry and giving himself a clean chit is not based on facts.

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