LAHORE/ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Thursday said that he would not join the National Accountability Bureau’s investigation into Al-Qadir Trust corruption case since he was on protective bail.
Imran had been summoned by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday (May 18) in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust case but he skipped the hearing and submitted a written response instead, as per the advice of his legal team. Labeling allegations made by the graft watchdog “false, frivolous and concocted”, Khan added that the purpose of converting the inquiry into an investigation is to target him for political revenge.
In a statement addressed to the NAB’s deputy director, the former prime minister called the allegations against him “absolutely false, frivolous and concocted.” He also said that he was in the process of applying for, and obtaining, bail in a number of other legal cases and would not be available before his protective bail expired on May 22.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan further said that even if he is left standing alone, he will fight for “Haqeeqi Azadi” (true freedom) of his country. Addressing the media, Thursday evening, flanked by PTI members, the former PM said hailed those who were still standing by him, despite pressure, adding that the country will not forget them. In the video address aired on the official Twitter handle of PTI, Khan alleged that the protests of May 9 are a part of “organized conspiracy”.
“My sympathies go to all those who under pressure have been made to leave the party. And I commend and salute all the senior members who are resisting the extreme pressure to quit the party. The nation will always remember them for standing up for Haqeeqi Azaadi,” tweeted Khan.
He went on to demand the constitution of an independent commission to investigate the matter and added that, efforts to eliminate his party have been underway for a year. He also sympathized with party deserters, saying that immense pressure has been exerted on them. Meanwhile, the police kept up their siege around his Lahore home and barricaded a key road leading to the house, with the SSP Hasan Javid claiming to have arrested eight persons trying to flee his Zaman Park residence.
Punjab Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir said that eight “terrorists”, who were allegedly hiding at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s residence, had been arrested while they were escaping from Lahore’s Zaman Park area. The detained terrorists were already identified and are allegedly involved in the attack on the Lahore Corps Commander House on May 9, he added.
Speaking to the media, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Civil Lines Hasan Javed earlier said that authorities had confirmed reports regarding the presence of 30 to 40 people inside Khan’s Zaman Park residence.
He confirmed that eight suspects were taken into custody, who were trying to escape via the nearby canal.
“There are still reports that miscreants are present in Zaman Park,” the SSP said, adding that the final decision regarding conducting the search operation will be taken by the higher-ups. The senior police official said other suspects were also trying to flee but they would go back upon seeing the police personnel stationed outside Zaman Park.
Meanwhile, PTI chief Khan urged the “illegal” Punjab interim government to name the terrorists hiding at his residence.
“The reason they didn’t was because what they were planning was to bring 30-40 people with them and then accuse me for harboring terrorists just like last time when they broke into my house through an armored car and then planted Kalashnikov and petrol bombs. ,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday submitted a written response to the NAB pertaining to the Al-Qadir Trust case, terming all the allegations made by the anti-corruption watchdog in the call-up notice as “Absolutely false, frivolous and concocted and based on deliberate misconception of law and facts.”
In a 20-point written response, former prime minister Khan said that it was not possible for him to appear in person before the NAB Rawalpindi office and join the investigation as he was in Lahore and in the process of obtaining bail in several cases.
In his response, Khan said that no case of corruption or corrupt practice was made rather the entire object of initiating the inquiry and investigation in the case was politically motivated and, to say the least, is based on facts extraneous to law.
The PTI chief said in his response that although the inquiry report was provided to him during custody, yet he could not carry the said inquiry report along with his clothes and shaving kit before his appearance in Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 12. He requested the bureau that the inquiry report along with his clothes and shaving kit that were left behind his room at Police Lines in Islamabad may be immediately forwarded to him at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.
Khan stated that at the time of inquiry, he only received notice of summons, which did not include any details of the allegations.
He said that he had only received a call-up notice during the entire inquiry. He also added that he had challenged the notices sent earlier by NAB in the same and other cases as per law.
The ex-premier also told the top anti-corruption watchdog that as per laws, it was bound to send a copy of the report of inquiry immediately if it was converted into an investigation to him, for defense which it did not do so.
However, he pleaded: “On the contrary, it was through a news report… published… (on) 30th April, 2023, that I came to know of the completion of inquiry and its conversion into investigation.”
The PTI chief stated that due to the NAB’s failure, he had decided to approach the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to seek a copy of the report.
“Thus, on May 09, 2023, I was sitting in the biometric branch of the IHC for getting my biometrics verified for the purpose of filing, inter alia, the said writ petition, when you maneuvered my arrest in a manner that blatantly violated, … , my fundamental right to access to justice.”
The PTI chairman further stated that it was abundantly clear from the facts narrated above that the bureau had violated the provision of law by not providing him a copy of the inquiry report as mandated by the Section 18(c) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO). , 1999.
He requested that before serving him a notice, a copy of the said inquiry report should be immediately forwarded to him at his address at Zaman Park, or, it should be furnished to his legal counsel Gohar Ali Khan in Islamabad.
He underlined the NAB call-up notice was ‘illegal’ and as per the record no “corrupt practices” were unearthed and the motive behind turning inquiry into the investigation was to victimize him politically.